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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation

Volume 36, Issue 1, January 2017, Pages 71–76.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1016/j.healun.2016.09.014. Copyright © Elsevier


BACKGROUND: Liver dialysis, molecular adsorbent recirculating system (MARS) particularly, has been used in liver failure to bridge to transplantation. We expanded the indication for MARS to patients with acute shock liver failure and cardiopulmonary failure on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), aiming to improve survival to wean from ECMO.

METHODS: Retrospective chart analysis of patients on ECMO between 2010 and 2015 found 28 patients who met the criteria for acute liver failure, diagnosed by hyperbilirubinemia (total bilirubin ≥10 mg/dl) or by elevated transaminase (alanine transaminase >1,000 IU/liter). Of these patients, 14 underwent MARS treatment (Group M), and 14 were supported with optimal medical treatment without MARS (Group C). Patient characteristics, liver function, and survival were compared between groups.

RESULTS: Demographics, clinical risk factors, and pre-ECMO laboratory data were identical between the groups. MARS was used continuously for 8 days ± 9 in Group M. Total bilirubin, alanine transaminase, and international normalized ratio were improved significantly in Group M. There were no MARS-related complications. Survival to wean from ECMO for Group M was 64% (9/14) vs 21% (3/14) for Group C (p = 0.02). Mortality related to worsening liver dysfunction during ECMO was 40% (2/5 deaths) in Group M and 100% (11/11 deaths) in Group C (p = 0.004). The 30-day survival after ECMO was 43% (6/14) in Group M and 14% (2/14) in Group C (p = 0.09).

CONCLUSIONS: MARS therapy in patients on ECMO safely accelerated recovery of liver function and improved survival to wean from ECMO, without increasing complications.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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