Liver support systems: Promise and reality
Article first published online: 15 JUL 2005
Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Volume 20, Issue 12, pages 1807–1816, December 2005
How to Cite
WIGG, A. J. and PADBURY, R. T. (2005), Liver support systems: Promise and reality. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 20: 1807–1816. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2005.03965.x
- Issue published online: 11 NOV 2005
- Article first published online: 15 JUL 2005
- Accepted for publication 19 January 2005.
- artificial liver support;
- bioartificial liver;
- liver failure;
Effective liver support is needed for a variety of indications. A large number of both biological (containing hepatocytes) and non-biological extracorporeal liver support systems have been described in the literature over the last 50 years. Despite this, there is a paucity of good quality randomized control data examining the effectiveness of these therapies in human liver failure. In this review article, we examine the available data, with particular emphasis on the current front runners, the MARS® and HepatAssist® systems. Other problems associated with the development of these liver support systems are also discussed. Although promising in animal studies, we conclude that the use of these technologies is not supported currently by a sufficient evidence base to recommend them for routine clinical use and that a lack of understanding about the critical functions required of a liver support system is retarding a more rational approach to the design of these systems.
© 2005 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd