Albumin Dialysis

Therapy of intractable pruritus with Mars.

Acevedo Ribo M, Moreno Planas JM, Sanz Moreno C, Rubio Gonzalez EE, Rubio Gonzalez E, Boullosa Grana E, Sanchez-Turrion V, Sanz Guajardo D, Cuervas-Mons V.
Transplant Proc. 2005 Apr;37(3):1480-1

Department of Nephrology, Hospital Puerta de Hierro, Madrid, Spain.

INTRODUCTION: Pruritus is the most disabling symptom in patients with cholestatic liver diseases. Many drug therapies have been used for the treatment of these diseases, with different outcomes. The molecular adsorbent recirculating system (MARS) has been used in the treatment of intractable pruritus in cholestatic syndromes. We report our experience with MARS in 3 patients with intractable pruritus on the waiting list: 2 liver transplant recipients and a patient with primary biliary cirrhosis. PATIENTS AND RESULTS: Two middle-aged women and 1 middle-aged man, who were recipients of an orthotopic liver transplant for primary biliary cirrhosis, underwent three (n = 2) and two (n = 1) 6-hour sessions of MARS due to medically uncontrollable pruritus. All noted marked improvement of pruritus, with decreased bilirubin levels, but this improvement lasted only a few days in all cases. We observed no changes in transaminase or albumin levels, or prothrombin time. Complications included an episode of angina due to anemia caused by jugular catheter bleeding, and thrombocytopenia in all patients. CONCLUSIONS: MARS is an effective treatment for intractable pruritus in cholestatic liver diseases, although its beneficial effect is short. This extracorporeal liver device is safe, because most related adverse events are mild.