Clinical Use of a Bioartificial Liver in the Treatment of Acetaminophen-Induced

Detry, Olivier; Arkadopoulos, Nikolaos
October 1999
American Surgeon;Oct1999, Vol. 65 Issue 10, p934
Academic Journal
Patients with acetaminophen-induced fulminant hepatic failure (FHF) who meet the King's College Hospital criteria have a high mortality risk (>90%) if they do not undergo liver transplantation. We have developed a treatment strategy for these patients based on the use of an extracorporeal bioartificial liver (BAL) support system. In this study, we report the results of the clinical application of BAL support in patients with acetaminophen-induced FHF. All patients were admitted to a dedicated surgical intensive care unit. They were evaluated for urgent liver transplantation and received the standard medical measures, including N-acetylcysteine administration and intracranial pressure monitoring. Moreover, they underwent daily 6-hour BAL treatments. Eight patients were treated. Three patients were bridged to liver transplantation, and five patients recovered without a transplant. All patients experienced neurological and metabolic improvement after treatments with the BAL support system. The BAL support system seems to improve the outcome of high-risk patients with acetaminophen-induced FHF, even in the absence of liver transplantation. Avoiding liver transplantation is particularly important in an era of organ shortage and high cost of transplants.


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