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Transplant Proc. 2009 Jan-Feb;41(1):259-61. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2008.10.058.

Artificial liver support system using large buffer volumes removes significant glutamine and is an ideal bridge to liver transplantation.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Showa University Fujigaoka Hospital, Yokohama, Japan.



Fulminant hepatitis is an intractable disease of varying etiology. Artificial liver support (ALS) is used to control serious symptoms of fulminant hepatitis, such as brain edema, which may induce postoperative neurological deficits.


ALS was evaluated in 12 patients with fulminant hepatitis who had been placed on an ALS system comprising plasma exchange and online hemodiafiltration. Six of 12 patients fell into an ahepatic state, the absolute indication for liver transplantation. The effects of ALS were evaluated on the basis of improvements in clinical symptoms, removal of glutamine (Gln), and brain computed tomography.


All 12 patients regained consciousness with ALS and 5 survived; 7 died despite recovering from hepatic coma. The ALS systems sustained patients in an ahepatic state for more than 2 weeks. The median estimated plasma equivalent volume of removed Gln was 17.9 L (range, 6.7-64.3 L). There was a significant relationship between total buffer volume and the plasma equivalent volume of removed Gln.


Plasma exchange combined with hemodiafiltration using large buffer volumes is a promising and effective bridging method to liver transplantation.

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