Artificial liver support as a bridge to orthotopic liver transplantation in a case of acute liver dysfunction on non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)

Rita Gaspari, Mariano Alberto Pennisi, Vittorio Mignani, Antonio Gasbarrini, Giovanna Mercurio, Cristiana Di Campli, Guido Conti, Nicolo' Gentiloni Silveri, Rodolfo Proietti

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

9 Citazioni (Scopus)


Introduction Despite recent advances in the care of critically ill patients, the prognosis of severe liver failure (SLF) remains extremely poor and orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) represents the only definitive treatment for SLF [1][2][3][4]. However a world-wide shortage of organs significantly limits a rapid and easy access to this procedure and has prompted the development of extracorporeal liver support systems as a bridge to OLT. Recently a non-cell based extracorporeal hepatic support device, namely Molecular Adsorbent Recycling System (MARS), has been employed in the clinical practice [5][6][7]. The MARS using hemodiafiltration with albumin and an activated charcoal adsorption column, removes both the albumin-bound toxins and the water-soluble substances (conjugated bilirubin, aromatic amino acids, free phenols, bile acids, ammonia) that rapidly accumulate in SLF. This device lacks of the side effects and the risks that may occur with cell-based Bioreactors [8][9][10][11]. We report the successful use of the MARS treatment as a bridge to OLT in a patient with acute liver dysfunction on non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) [12]. Case report A 28 year-old caucasian woman was admitted to the hospital in June 1999 presenting with nausea, vomiting and acute jaundice. Tests for anti-nuclear, anti-mithocondrial and smooth muscular antibodies were negative. A liver biopsy performed at that time was described as NASH. After two weeks of medical therapy her laboratory evaluation was normal and she was discharged. In May 2000 she clinically deteriorated and presented to a primary care hospital, where a progressive hepatic failure was diagnosed (total bilirubin levels 63.6 mg/dl, conjugated bilirubin levels 43.3 mg/dl, aspartate transaminase [AST] 90 IU/l, alanine aminotransferase [ALT] 9 IU/l, alkaline phosphatases 34 IU/l, serum ammonia 172 g/dl and bile acid 43.9 mg/dl). Futhermore, a coagulatory impairment with hypofibrinogenemia (168 mg/dl), decreased prothrombin activity (36.8 %), increased D-dimer (400 ng/dl) and antithrombin III (ATIII) activity reduction (66.4 %) was also documented. The patient had a normochromic-normocytic anemia (Hb = 7 mg/dl), but no acantocytes were observed on blood smear. Folate and B12 vitamin were within normal range. LDH was strongly elevated (1,340 IU/l). The direct and indirect Coombs' tests were negative. The hepatitis markers serum and urine toxicology screens (drugs, mushrooms, oral contraceptives, alcohol, other hepatotoxic agents) were negative. No oesophageal varices were demonstrated by endoscopy. Intracranial hypertension and hemorrhages were excluded by cerebral CT scan. Doppler sonography showed signs of portal hypertension, moderate ascites and hepato-splenomegaly, excluding posthepatic cholestasis. A normal pulsatility index of the mesenteric and the renal arteries was demonstrated by sonography. Despite standard care, the patient clinically deteriorated and was therefore transferred to our ICU. On arrival, she was in hepatic encephalopathy (HE) grade III, according to Conn and Leevy [13], and fullfilled the criteria of status 2 A in the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) classification [14]. The SAPS II score was 23, the hemodynamic, respiratory, ventilatory and renal parameters were monitored and resulted stable. The next day her neurologic, metabolic, biochemical parameters further deteriorated and we decided to start the MARS treatment, as described by Stange and coll. We used a standard system for Continuos Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT) (BAXTER System BM11-BM14 Monitor) and a closed-loop albumin circuit (MARS Monitor, Teraklin, Rostock, Germany). A double-lumen catheter was placed in the superficial femoral vein for the MARS treatment. The blood circuit is driven by the CRRT Monitor pump with a blood flow rate of 150 ml/min. The blood passes through a non-albumin permeable high flux dialysis membrane (MARS FLUX 1S, Teraklin, Rostock, Germany). A closed-loo
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)15-17
Numero di pagine3
RivistaZeitschrift fur Gastroenterologie
Volume39 Suppl 2
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2001


  • Adult
  • Blood Component Removal
  • Extracorporeal Circulation
  • Fatty Liver
  • Fatty Liver, Alcoholic
  • Female
  • Hepatitis
  • Humans
  • Liver Failure, Acute
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Liver, Artificial
  • Preoperative Care
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Serum Albumin
  • Treatment Outcome


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