Year : 2017  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 807-812

Liver support devices: Bridge to transplant or recovery

Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Cochin, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Nandhini Anamthuruthil Joseph
Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Cochin, Kerala - 682 024
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijrc.ijrc_11_17

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Liver failure, whether acute or acute on chronic, is a devastating disease with a very high mortality and morbidity. The recent therapeutic advances, especially liver transplant, have given reason for optimism to the ever-rising population affected by this disease. However, scarcity of organs and lack of resources make this an option that only few can afford. The hunt for an artificial device to assist or replace the functions of the liver has been on the rise since the past 40 years. These devices are classified into artificial and bioartificial liver (BAL) assist devices. Artificial liver devices such as molecular adsorbent recirculating system, Prometheus, single-pass albumin dialysis, and selective plasma filtration therapy are mostly aimed at taking over the blood purification systems of the liver. BAL-assisted devices incorporate hepatic cell lines to obtain a more comprehensive coverage of the complex functions of the liver. These include extracorporeal liver assist device, modular extracorporeal liver support, HepatAssist, and Amsterdam Medical Centre-BAL. Development of an ideal liver assist device has been difficult due to the complexity of the functions of the organ. The initial studies on these devices are promising but inconclusive. Therapeutic plasma exchange seems to have a very favorable profile in the treatment of these patients and has been successfully used in a large number of patients. To arrive at a more definitive conclusion of the usefulness of these devices in the management of liver failure, large randomized multicentric studies with more objective end points need to be carried out. A literature review was performed using PubMed and library searches to collect the recent studies in this regard. This review aims to provide a myopic view of the advances that have been made in the development and usefulness of these liver assist devices.

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