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Ther Apher Dial. 2009 Oct;13(5):419-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-9987.2009.00760.x.

Albumin dialysis in liver failure: comparison of molecular adsorbent recirculating system and single pass albumin dialysis--a retrospective analysis.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Jena, Germany.


Despite improvement in critical care, liver failure is still associated with high mortality. Therapeutic concepts are aimed at restoring endogenous liver function or to bridge the time to liver transplantation. In addition to standard medical treatment, extracorporeal liver support with albumin dialysis is used for this purpose. The aim of this study was to analyze the efficacy of single pass albumin dialysis (SPAD) in comparison to the molecular adsorbent recirculating system (MARS) in patients treated at our university hospital intensive care unit between July 2004 and August 2008. In this retrospective analysis we studied patients presenting with liver failure who were treated with albumin dialysis. Laboratory parameters, daily health scoring, the number of transfusions, and mortality were recorded. The (paired) t-test, Mann-Whitney U-test, and Wilcoxon test were used for statistical analysis. In all, 163 albumin dialysis treatments, 126 with MARS and 37 with SPAD, in 57 patients were performed. MARS resulted in a significant decrease in bilirubin (-38 +/- 66.5 micromol/L from a baseline of 301 +/- 154.6 micromol/L), gamma-glutamyltransferase (gamma-GT), alanine aminotransferase, creatinine, and urea. SPAD resulted in a significant decrease in bilirubin (-41 +/- 111.2 micromol/L from a baseline of 354 +/- 189.4 micromol/L) and gamma-GT, while lactate levels increased. No differences in the need for blood transfusion, health scoring, or mortality between the two treatment modalities were detected. This retrospective analysis suggests equal efficacy of MARS and SPAD; however, prospective assessment to further define the role of SPAD in the treatment of acute or acute-on-chronic liver failure is needed.

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