Albumin Dialysis

Review article: the Molecular Adsorbents Recirculating System (MARS) in liver failure.

Sen S, Mookerjee RP, Davies NA, Williams R, Jalan R.
Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2002 Dec;16 Suppl 5:32-8. Review.

Institute of Hepatology, University College London Medical School and University College London Hospitals.

In recent years different artificial liver support systems are being developed for use in patients with acute decompensation of chronic liver disease or acute liver failure. The molecular adsorbents recirculating system (MARS), a device in which patient's blood is dialysed across an albumin-impregnated membrane against a recirculated albumin-containing solution, seems to be effective in removing albumin-bound toxins, such as fatty acids, bile acids and bilirubin. Although the clinical experience with MARS is scarce, some pilot studies have reported its effectiveness at improving liver function and hepatic encephalopathy in patients with acute decompensation of chronic liver disease, and renal function in patients with hepatorenal syndrome type I. Data regarding MARS experience in acute liver failure and in primary graft dysfunction are encouraging but limited. Its real usefulness in these settings is, at present, under evaluation in randomized controlled clinical trials.