Prognosis and treatment options in cases of acute liver failure caused by mushroom poisoning due to Amanita phalloides


  • Anant Parasher Department of Medicine, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, New Delhi, India
  • Akshay Aggrawal Department of Medicine, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, New Delhi, India



Amanita phalloides, Amatoxin, Hepatic failure, Liver transplantation, Mushroom poisoning


Poisoning due to mushroom ingestion is a relatively rare but deadly cause of acute liver failure (ALF). Consumption of the poisonous mushroom Amanita phalloides, also known as ‘death cap’, is one of the most common causes of mushroom poisoning worldwide, being involved in the majority of human fatalities caused due to mushroom ingestion. A major portion of the liver damage due to Amanita phalloides is related to powerful toxins known as amanitins, which cause impairment in protein synthesis and subsequent cell necrosis by the inhibition of RNA polymerase II. Initially the presentation is that of an asymptomatic lag phase, followed by gastrointestinal symptoms and hepato-renal involvement. Amatoxin poisoning may progress into fulminant hepatic failure and eventually death if liver transplantation is not performed. It is based on a careful assessment of history of type and duration of mushroom ingestion, as well as the clinical manifestations. Diagnosis can be confirmed by laboratory tests measuring urinary amatoxin levels and identification of the mushroom. Although N-Acetyl Cysteine and Penicillin-G have proven to be effective therapeutic agents, Orthotopic Liver Transplantation (OLT) or Auxiliary Partial Orthotopic Liver Transplantation (APOLT) is the only treatment option for most of the cases carrying a poor prognosis.


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