The role of the Molecular Adsorbents Recirculating System (MARS) in the management of liver failure

Sen, Sambit; Jalan, Rajiv
January 2004
Perfusion;Jan2004 Supplement 1, Vol. 19, p43
Academic Journal
Albumin-bound toxins accumulate in liver failure, and are believed to contribute to the development of the associated end-organ dysfunctions (kidney, circulation, brain). The scavenging functions of albumin are utilized in albumin dialysis for toxin removal. The Molecular Adsorbents Recirculating System (MARS) is an extracorporeal liver support device based on dialysis across an albumin-impregnated membrane, using 20% albumin as dialysate. Charcoal and anion exchange resin columns in the circuit help cleanse and regenerate the dialysate. Clinical studies over the last decade have demonstrated proven reduction in hyperbilirubinaemia, along with an improvement in hepatic encephalopathy, systemic haemodynamics and renal function in liver failure patients, as well as apparent improvement in survival. However, the specific mechanisms underlying these observed clinical changes are as yet unclear. The results of larger controlled clinical trials, as well as studies investigating the pathophysiological basis of its effect, are awaited.


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