, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 469-476

Development of reliable artificial liver support (ALS)-plasma exchange in combination with hemodiafiltration using high-performance membranes

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A new artificial liver support system (ALSS) consisting of plasma exchange (PE) in combination with hemodiafiltration (HDF) using high-performance membranes of polymethyl metacrylate (PMMA) and cellulose triacetate (CTA) was developed to efficiently remove middle molecules from plasma and treat fulminant hepatic failure (FHF) complicated, by the onset of hepatic coma. Twenty-seven patients with FHF due to viral hepatitis, two with type A (HA), nine with type B (HB), and 16 with type non-A, non-B (NANB) underwent therapy with this new ALSS over the last five years. Three patients, with an exacerbation of chronic HB and 15/16 with type NANB hepatitis were treated with interferon (IFN) also. Of these, 25 patients (92.6%), regained consciousness and 15 (55.6%) [1/2 (50%) with type A, 6/9 (66.7%) with type B and 8/16 (50%) with type NANB hepatitis] survived Including four patients who survived with intensive, care and plasma exchange alone, 19/31 (61.3%) patients survived. Because of its biocompatibility, both survivors and nonsurvivors could be sustained with the ALSS without complications for long periods (19.3 days for the survivors and 32.4 days for nonsurvivors). With this ALSS the ability to sustain life for such prolonged periods allows hepatic regeneration to occur and result in patient survival. It is anticipated that this new ALSS will not only be of value in cases of fulminant hepatic failure but that it may also play a role in sustaining life for those, awaiting liver transplantation.