Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) June 19, 2012
For many patients with acute liver failure, the only hope for treatment is a liver transplant. With transplant, waiting for an organ to become available can take a long time – time the patient does not have.
Emory is only one of five centers in the U.S. and the only one in the Southeast to offer the Molecular Adsorbents Recirculating System (MARS), a liver dialysis system recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat select patients with acute liver failure due to drugs or toxins. MARS can be used either as a bridge to transplant or spontaneous recovery, and highlights Emory’s institutional commitment to providing comprehensive, state-of-the-art liver critical care.
Says transplant hepatologist and intensivist Ram Subramanian, assistant professor at Emory University School of Medicine, “We have long had kidney dialysis to stabilize patients in renal failure, but until now, we have not had a corresponding method of treatment for patients in acute liver failure. MARS is a potential game changer for patients who either don’t qualify for transplant or who don’t have the time that is critical to wait for a liver transplant.”
Acute liver failure does not allow patients to clear certain toxins from their systems. The MARS system works by drawing blood from patients and cleansing it with a solution containing albumin. Albumin is produced by healthy livers and binds to certain medications and other bodily substances to transports them throughout the body while protecting the body from their toxic effects. This cleansed blood is returned to the patient’s circulatory system to attract more toxins.
MARS is the only FDA approved treatment of acute liver failure, but is currently under clinical trial investigation to treat forms of chronic liver illness.
“Several studies in Europe have demonstrated that MARS is effective in treating chronic liver failure as well,” says Subramanian. “My hope is that it becomes another tool for us in offering hope to patients who are dealing with all kinds of liver failure.”
Learn more about the MARS liver dialysis system in a video interview with Ram Subramanian, MD.