Albumin Dialysis

Molecular adsorbent recirculating system (Mars) in patients with primary nonfunction and other causes of graft dysfunction after liver transplantation in the era of extended criteria donor organs.

Transplant Proc. 2009 Jan-Feb;41(1):253-8.


Gaspari R, Cavaliere F, Sollazzi L, Perilli V, Melchionda I, Agnes S, Gasbarrini A, Avolio AW.

Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Catholic University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Liver dysfunction is an important cause of morbidity and mortality after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). The Molecular Adsorbent Recirculating System (MARS) is an albumin-based dialysis system designed to enhance the excretory function of a failing liver. MARS has been successfully used in patients affected by advanced liver disease and presenting with severe cholestasis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and clinical efficacy of MARS in patients with liver dysfunction after OLT. Seven patients (primary nonfunction, 2 patients; graft dysfunction, 5 patients) fulfilled the inclusion criteria of serum bilirubin level >15 mg/dL and least 1 of the following clinical signs: hepatic encephalopathy (HE) > or = grade II, hepatorenal syndrome (HRS), and intractable pruritus.

Graft and patient survival rates at 6 months were 42.8% and 57.1%, respectively. All patients tolerated MARS treatment, with no adverse event. In all patients, a decrease in serum bilirubin (P < .05), bile acids (P < .05), serum creatinine, and ammonia levels was observed after treatment with MARS. A considerable improvement of HE, as well as renal and synthetic liver functions, was observed in 4 of 5 patients with graft dysfunction, but not among those with primary nonfunction. The patients with intractable pruritus showed significant improvement of this symptom after MARS therapy. Thus, MARS is a safe, therapeutic option for the treatment of liver dysfunction after OLT. Further studies are necessary to confirm whether this treatment is able to improve both graft and patient survival.