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Metab Brain Dis. 2002 Dec;17(4):477-84.

Concept for modular extracorporeal liver support for the treatment of acute hepatic failure.

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Charité - Campus Virchow, Allgemein-, Visceral- und Transplantationschirurgie, Charité Institute for Transplantation and, Organ replacement, Berlin, Germany.


Acute liver failure has a poor prognosis. The introduction of liver transplantation as a therapeutic option reduced mortality to 20-40%.With the growing disparity between the number of organ donations and the number of patients waiting for liver transplantation, efforts have been made to optimize the allocation of organs and to design extracorporeal methods to support the failing liver. The modular extracorporeal liver support is a concept for the treatment of hepatic failure. The CellModule is a multicompartment bioreactor for extracorporeal liver support therapy. The construction provides efficient integrated oxygenator functions and decentralized mass transfer is effected by a woven array of capillary systems. The bioreactor promotes primary human liver cells to spontaneous neo-formation of liver sinusoidal structures in vitro. Small capillary subunits, in which interwoven membrane links represent the liver lobuli, are simultaneously perfused. The used cell mass of 400-600 g enabled the clinical application of a liver lobe equivalent hybrid organ. The DetoxModule enables albumin-dialysis for removal of albumin-bound toxins; a DialysisModule for continuous veno-venous hemofiltration can be added to the system, in the case of hepato-renal failure.

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