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Ther Apher Dial. 2009 Oct;13(5):426-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-9987.2009.00761.x.

Extracorporeal liver support therapy with Prometheus in patients with liver failure in the intensive care unit.

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1
Department of Nephrology and Medical Intensive Care, Charité Medical University Berlin, Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

Acute liver failure (ALF) and acute-on-chronic liver failure (AoCLF) are associated with a high mortality. In these patients an accumulation of both water-soluble and water-insoluble, protein-bound, metabolic waste products occurs. Conventional extracorporeal blood purification techniques based on diffusion and/or convection such as hemodialysis or hemofiltration may only eliminate small molecular weight, water-soluble compounds. In recent years, fractionated plasma separation and adsorption (FPSA) with the Prometheus system has been introduced for extracorporeal liver support therapy. To date, however, only limited data is available regarding the effect of this treatment on mortality and outcome of patients with advanced liver disease. Here we report on our experience with 23 patients with severe liver failure who were treated with Prometheus in our medical intensive care unit. Fourteen patients had AoCLF, and nine patients experienced ALF. The median bilirubin level at the start of Prometheus therapy was 30.5 mg/dL and the median Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) score was 26. During 40 individual treatment sessions lasting 5-6 h, Prometheus therapy reduced serum bilirubin levels from 23.7 mg/dL to 15.0 mg/dL (median values) (P < 0.001), and the overall survival was 26%. ALF patients had a better survival compared to AoCLF patients (44% vs. 22%; P = 0.022). Apart from one patient who developed hemodynamic instability during a treatment session, Prometheus therapy was well tolerated without relevant side-effects. In conclusion, extracorporeal liver support therapy with Prometheus is a novel and safe treatment option in patients with severe liver failure. In this series, patients with ALF showed a significantly better outcome with Prometheus therapy compared to AoCLF patients.

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