Albumin Dialysis

Extracorporeal detoxification using the molecular adsorbent recirculating system for critically ill patients with liver failure.

Mitzner SR, Stange J, Klammt S, Peszynski P, Schmidt R, Noldge-Schomburg G.

J Am Soc Nephrol 2001; 12 Suppl 17:S75-S82.

Abstract: Liver failure resulting from different causes and its concomitant complications represent difficult-to-treat conditions with high mortality rates, despite improved therapeutic modalities in intensive care medicine. The accumulation of albumin-bound metabolites that are normally cleared by the liver, such as bilirubin and bile acids, contributes substantially to the development of multiorgan dysfunction in these clinical situations. The molecular adsorbent recirculating system (MARS) represents a cell-free, extracorporeal, liver assistance method for the selective removal of albumin-bound substances. Moreover, it enables the removal of excess water and water-soluble substances via an inbuilt dialysis step. Since 1993, >400 patients have been treated in 53 centers in Europe, the United States, and Asia. Diseases treated with MARS included acute exacerbation of chronic hepatic failure, hepatorenal syndrome, acute hepatic failure, and primary nonfunction/poor function after liver transplantation and major liver resection. Treatments were well tolerated. No severe adverse events were observed. Six- to 8-h MARS treatments resulted in significant (P < 0.05) removal of bilirubin, bile acids, tryptophan, short- and middle- chain fatty acids, aromatic amino acids, and ammonia. Clearance rates for strongly albumin-bound substances were between 10 and 60 ml/min. The removal of albumin-bound toxins resulted in decreases in hepatic encephalopathy, increases in mean arterial pressure, and improvements in kidney and liver function. In the first randomized clinical trial of the MARS method for treatment of the hepatorenal syndrome, significant prolongation of survival was observed for the MARS-treated group. It is concluded that the MARS method can contribute to the treatment of critically ill patients with liver failure and different underlying diseases