Albumin Dialysis MARS: Knowledge from 10 Years of Clinical Investigation

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A decade ago, albumin dialysis was introduced as a new extracorporeal detoxification method for patients with liver failure. Today, the molecular adsorbent recirculating system is the most frequently used type of albumin dialysis and most studied liver-support technique. Numerous preclinical and clinical studies demonstrated the importance of albumin as a scavenger for molecules with pathophysiological relevance in liver failure. Albumin dialysis enables the selective regeneration of albumin. The resulting increase of albumin binding capacity is paralleled by improvement of central and local hemodynamics and liver, brain, and kidney functions. The treatment can contribute to liver regeneration and prolongation of patient survival in the context of acute liver failure, decompensated chronic liver disease, and bridging of patients to liver transplantation. Proper patient selection is critical for clinical success. Aggressive treatment of infections and sepsis seems to be a decisive prerequisite for its safe and efficient use. Cautious anticoagulation with heparin is the common standard. Citrate use is recommended for patients prone to bleeding. Taken together, albumin dialysis represents a valuable therapeutic tool for the treatment of various types of liver failure. Ongoing and future studies will help define the optimal patient selection and technical process parameters such as session length and frequency of treatment.

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