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Semin Liver Dis. 2008 May;28(2):210-7. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1073120.

Artificial and bioartificial liver support.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


Acute liver failure (ALF) is a widespread problem with an unfavorable prognosis. Currently, liver transplantation is the only direct means of treatment for patients in ALF. Due to the scarcity of donor organs, liver support technologies are being developed and clinically tested with the intent of supporting a patient in ALF until the patient regains native liver function or until a donor organ becomes available. Two major categories of devices are currently being tested. Artificial liver support is purely mechanical, including albumin dialysis. Bioartificial devices contain cellular material. No single system has reproducibly demonstrated improvement in patient mortality. However, with the advent of new technology and cell acquisition techniques, further randomized controlled trials will be necessary to determine the role of artificial and bioartificial liver support devices in the treatment of patients with ALF.

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