There is increasing global concern of severe acute hepatitis of unknown etiology in young children. In early 2022, our center for liver transplantation in the Netherlands treated five children who presented in short succession with indeterminate acute liver failure. Four children underwent liver transplantation, one spontaneously recovered. Here we delineate the clinical course and comprehensive diagnostic workup of these patients. Three of five patients showed a gradual decline of liver synthetic function and had mild neurological symptoms. Their clinical and histological findings were consistent with hepatitis. These three patients all had a past SARS-CoV-2 infection and two of them were positive for adenovirus DNA. The other two patients presented with advanced liver failure and encephalopathy and underwent dialysis as a bridge to transplantation. One of these children spontaneously recovered. We discuss this cluster of patients in the context of the currently elevated incidence of severe acute hepatitis in children.
- acute liver failure
- liver transplantation