What is the difference between biologic (bioartificial) and nonbiologic liver support systems for management of acute liver failure (ALF)?

Updated: Jun 13, 2019
  • Author: Gagan K Sood, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
  • Print

Artificial liver support systems can be divided into two major categories: biologic (bioartificial) and nonbiologic.

The bioartificial liver is composed of a dialysis cartridge with mammalian or porcine hepatocytes filling the extracapillary spaces. These devices have undergone controlled trials. One multicenter trial reported improved short-term survival for a subgroup of patients with acute liver failure who were treated with a porcine hepatocyte-based artificial liver. [9]

Nonbiologic extracorporeal liver support systems, such as hemodialysis, hemofiltration, charcoal hemoperfusion, plasmapheresis, and exchange transfusions, have been used; however, no controlled study has shown long-term benefit.

These modalities permit temporary liver support until a suitable donor liver is found. Although extracorporeal hemoperfusion of charcoal and other inert substances provide some measure of excretory function, this technique provides no synthetic capacity.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!