Treatment with extracorporeal devices may not confer a survival advantage for severe liver failure patients, despite positive dialysis effects, results from two studies presented today at the International Liver CongressTM 2010 have shown. However, results among a small sub-group of patients show promise.
Extracorporeal liver support therapy is in its infancy but is valued as a detoxification treatment option for patients with cirrhosis who have rapid worsening of their liver function. The objectives of these two studies were to better understand the potential of two new devices (Molecular Adsorbent Recirculating System - MARS - and Prometheus®) in terms of survival benefits for patients who suffer from cirrhosis.
Commenting on the studies, Professor Burroughs from the Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust, London UK, said: "The accepted prognosis for these patients is generally poor and current treatment strategies involve supportive therapy, with the hope that liver function will recover if sufficient time is allowed. Extracorporeal support systems such as the two included in these studies are very useful bridges, but the overall data on survival is disappointing. The positive data for severely ill patients with hepatorenal syndrome I or a MELD score over 30, though, does offer some encouragement".