When the functioning of the liver is inadequate to meet the requirements of the body, a condition called liver failure sets in. It can either happen suddenly (acute liver failure; following consumption of heavy poisonous substances) or can occur over a prolonged time (chronic liver failure; like cirrhosis of the liver).
The following conditions may give rise to liver failure
1. Inflammation of the liver over a prolonged time period.
2. Cirrhosis of the liver.
3. Disorder of the immune system, in which the bile duct gets badly affected and destroyed (autoimmune disorder), eventually leading to liver failure. This condition is referred to as primary biliary cirrhosis.
4. Structural abnormality of the bile duct, called biliary atresia. In this condition there is either an absence or a closure of the bile duct opening. This is most commonly seen in children.
5. Chronic alcohol intake, eventually leading to cirrhosis and liver failure.
6. Congenital disorders of copper metabolism, leading to excess deposition of copper throughout the body including the liver (Wilson's disease, Menke's disease).
7. Liver cancer.