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Type: Journal article
Title: Bioartificial liver support devices: historical perspectives
Author: Court, F.
Wemyss-Holden, S.
Dennison, A.
Maddern, G.
Citation: ANZ Journal of Surgery, 2003; 73(9):739-748
Publisher: Blackwell Science Asia
Issue Date: 2003
ISSN: 1445-1433
Statement of
Fiona G. Court, Simon A. Wemyss-Holden, Ashley R. Dennison and Guy J. Maddern
Abstract: Fulminant hepatic failure (FHF) is an important cause of death worldwide. Despite significant improvements in critical care therapy there has been little impact on survival with mortality rates approaching 80%. In many patients the cause of the liver failure is reversible and if short-term hepatic support is provided, the liver may regenerate. Survivors recover full liver function and a normal life expectancy1. For many years the only curative treatment for this condition has been liver transplantation, subjecting many patients to replacement of a potentially self-regenerating organ, with the lifetime danger of immunosuppression and its attendant complications, such as malignancy2. Because of the shortage of livers available for transplantation, many patients die before a transplant can be performed, or are too ill for operation by the time a liver becomes available. Many patients with hepatic failure do not qualify for liver transplantation because of concomitant infection, metastatic cancer, active alcoholism or concurrent medical problems. The survival of patients excluded from liver transplantation or those with potentially reversible acute hepatitis might be improved with temporary artificial liver support. With a view to this, bioartificial liver support devices have been developed which replace the synthetic, metabolic and detoxification functions of the liver. Some such devices have been evaluated in clinical trials3,4. During the last decade, improvements in bioengineering techniques have been used to refine the membranes and hepatocyte attachment systems used in these devices, in the hope of improving function. The present article reviews the history of liver support systems, the attendant problems encountered, and summarizes the main systems that are currently under evaluation.
Keywords: Filtration
fulminant hepatic failure
liver regeneration
liver resection
liver support
liver transplantation
Description: The definitive version is available at
DOI: 10.1046/j.1445-2197.2003.02741.x
Published version:
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 2
Surgery publications

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