Serum liver function tests were estimated in 57 patients admitted to an Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) with a diagnosis of septic shock. Following an initial biochemical disturbance, persisting hyperbilirubinaemia was associated with a poor prognosis. Post-mortem liver histology in 22 patients showed varying degrees of non-specific reactive change, venous congestion, ischaemic necrosis, fatty change and intrahepatic cholestasis in 16 cases. In the remaining six cases there was moderately severe cholestasis with inspissated bile in the cholangioles. The possible aetiology of the observed cholestasis is discussed.
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