King's College Criteria

The King's College Criteria or the King's College Hospital criteria were devised in 1989 to determine if there were any early indices of poor prognosis in patients with acute liver failure. Acute liver failure is defined as the onset of encephalopathy (altered mental status) or coagulopathy (altered bleeding tendencies) within 26 weeks of a patient diagnosed with liver disease. Patients with hepatitis B acquired at birth, Wilson's disease and autoimmune hepatitis are included if their disease was identified within the past 26 weeks. These patients are very ill, and have a very high risk of dying of their illness without adequate treatment which may include liver transplantation. It is important that physicians find ways of identifying patients with acute liver failure early in their course who will do poorly, and may require liver transplantation. The King's College Criteria have consistently shown excellent operating characteristics for determining prognosis in these patients. As liver transplantation becomes a more accessible option for patients with acute liver failure, the King's College Criteria serve a role in determining which patients may require transplantation.

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