Acute fatty liver of pregnancy (AFLP) is a rare but life-threatening syndrome of late pregnancy. Affecting approximately 1:10000 pregnancies, the mother’s liver becomes acutely overloaded with fat leading to acute liver failure.
Dr Mandeep Kaler’s award winning PhD was completed in 2019 having discovered that women with AFLP have normal sized babies, low blood cholesterol levels and an inability to metabolise fat into ketones. These features rapidly distinguish AFLP from the more common pregnancy-syndrome, preeclampsia. Women who survive AFLP recover normal liver function and fat metabolism and are unlikely to develop AFLP in a future pregnancy.
Future research aims to understand the cause of AFLP.