Extracorporeal liver support systems

One of the topics of discussion this week was the utilization of Molecular Adsorbent Recirculating System™ (MARS) in patients with acute liver failure.


Saliba F, Camus C, Durand F, et al. Albumin dialysis with a noncell artificial liver support device in patients with acute liver failure: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med. 2013;159(8):522–531.

Full-text for Emory users.

Results: 102 patients (mean age, 40.4 years [SD, 13]) were in the modified intention-to-treat (mITT) population. The per-protocol analysis (49 conventional, 39 MARS) included patients with at least 1 session of MARS of 5 hours or more. Six-month survival was 75.5% (95% CI, 60.8% to 86.2%) with conventional treatment and 84.9% (CI, 71.9% to 92.8%) with MARS (P = 0.28) in the mITT population and 75.5% (CI, 60.8% to 86.2%) with conventional treatment and 82.9% (CI, 65.9% to 91.9%) with MARS (P = 0.50) in the per-protocol population. In patients with paracetamol-related ALF, the 6-month survival rate was 68.4% (CI, 43.5% to 86.4%) with conventional treatment and 85.0% (CI, 61.1% to 96.0%) with MARS (P = 0.46) in the mITT population. Sixty-six of 102 patients had transplantation (41.0% among paracetamol-induced ALF; 79.4% among non-paracetamol-induced ALF) (P < 0.001). Adverse events did not significantly differ between groups.


Tsipotis E, Shuja A, Jaber BL. Albumin Dialysis for Liver Failure: A Systematic Review. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2015;22(5):382–390. doi:10.1053/j.ackd.2015.05.004

Full-text for Emory users.

“By meta-analysis, albumin dialysis achieved a net decrease in serum total bilirubin level relative to standard medical therapy of 8.0 mg/dL (95% confidence interval [CI], -10.6 to -5.4) but not in serum ammonia or bile acids. Albumin dialysis achieved an improvement in hepatic encephalopathy relative to standard medical therapy with a risk ratio of 1.55 (95% CI, 1.16-2.08) but had no effect survival with a risk ratio of 0.95 (95% CI, 0.84-1.07). Because of inconsistency in the reporting of adverse events, the safety analysis was limited but did not demonstrate major safety concerns. Use of albumin dialysis as supportive treatment for liver failure is successful at removing albumin-bound molecules, such as bilirubin and at improving hepatic encephalopathy. Additional experience is required to guide its optimal use and address safety concerns.”


García Martínez JJ, Bendjelid K. Artificial liver support systems: what is new over the last decade?. Ann Intensive Care. 2018;8(1):109.

Free full-text.

MARS for ALF 4MARS for ALF 5


More PubMed results on extracorporeal liver support systems.

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