Fractionated plasma separation and adsorption: current practice and future options


Kinan Rifai, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Endocrinology, Hannover Medical School, Carl Neuberg Str. 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany


Fractionated plasma separation and adsorption (FPSA) is a method of albumin dialysis that is integrated into an extracorporeal liver support device (Prometheus®). This concept allows the effective removal of both protein-bound and water-soluble substances without the need for external albumin. Several studies comparing the in vivo extraction capacities of FPSA and molecular adsorbent recirculating system (MARS) concluded that detoxification by FPSA seems to be more effective than by MARS. Overall, FPSA therapy has been shown to be safe. Over the last few years, the anticoagulation protocol for FPSA therapy was optimised by using regional anticoagulation with citrate to avoid clotting of system components. Recently, the results of a large randomised-controlled multicentre trial (HELIOS) have been presented. Survival after 1 and 3 months was evaluated in 145 patients with acute-on-chronic liver failure comparing FPSA therapy with standard medical treatment versus standard medical treatment alone. There was no statistically significant survival benefit for patients undergoing FPSA therapy. However, patients with hepatorenal syndrome type I or MELD score>30 showed a significant survival benefit under FPSA in a predefined subgroup analysis. Furthermore, there have been promising results with FPSA in the treatment of refractory cholestatic pruritus. Regarding acute liver failure, only few data are currently available.