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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 14, Suppl D, Pages 79D-84D

Clinical Experience with Artificial Liver Support Systems

Paul P Ting and Achilles A Demetriou

Liver Support Unit, Department of Surgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, USA

Received 13 May 1999; Accepted 14 May 1999

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Fulminant hepatic failure is a devastating disease that, despite recent therapeutic advances, continues to be associated with high morbidity and mortality. Orthotopic liver transplantation has emerged as the sole modality of treatment that significantly improves survival. However, the critical shortage of donors precludes timely transplantation for all patients. Consequently, almost half of all patients with fulminant hepatic failure die before a graft becomes available. This has generated interest in developing a system that would support patients until either native liver regeneration occurs or an optimal donor liver can be found. Investigators have used biological, artificial and bioartificial techniques in an attempt to improve survival in liver failure. This article reviews the history, the current state of the art and future directions of artificial liver support.