Liver dialysis is a detoxification treatment for liver failure and decompensated liver. It is similar to hemodialysis and based on the same principles. Like a bioartificial liver device, it is a form of artificial extracorporeal liver support. A critical issue of the clinical syndrome in liver failure is the accumulation of toxins not cleared by the failing liver. The removal of lipophilic, albumin-bound substances such as bilirubin, bile acids, and metabolites of aromatic amino acids, medium-chain fatty acids and cytokines should be beneficial to the clinical course of a patient in liver failure. Liver dialysis is a process which removes toxins from the liver in order to sustain patients until a liver transplant can be done. Liver dialysis is considered a very temporary solution for transition to liver transplant. The act of liver filtration can be effective at removing toxins from the liver for several weeks to a few months, taking some of the strain off the ailing organ. Without treatment, a person with liver disease is susceptible to a wide range of complications, including: 1. Hepatic encephalopathy - scar tissue prevents adequate blood flow through the liver, preventing clearance of toxins. Circulating toxins may affect brain functioning, leading to coma. 2. Ascites - a build-up of sodium, which leads to fluid retention in the abdominal cavity and in the legs, feet and back (edema). 3. Liver failure - liver cells are destroyed faster than replacement rate, until the organ can no longer function. 4. Cancer - chronic cirrhosis or some forms of hepatitis can make the liver more susceptible to primary cancer.
Liver dialysis allows your blood to be purified when suffering from liver failure. Your blood will be removed from your body and pumped through a set of filters to purify it. The procedure may last up hours, but you may need only one or two sessions because the treatment restarts the damaged liver. THis allows the liver to regenerate itself
Suitable for supporting the patient with liver failure until the liver recovers or whenever a liver becomes available for transplantation
Hepatic toxins which are bound by a protein called albumin cannot be removed by dialysis
Dialysis is a very lengthy treatment option. A single appointment for treatment takes several hours. The longer time needed for treatment is because you will need to have your blood removed from your body, filtered, and then the clean blood pumped back in. Due to the amount of time each treatment session takes, patients are made to be comfortable. They are given the option to sit or lie down in a chair. Treatment centers will often encourage patients to bring books, tablets, movies and other items that will keep them occupied while undergoing treatment. Once you are comfortable in your chair, a tech will come in and place two needles in your arm. Upon placement of the needles, the machine is turned on and your blood is slowly drawn out of your body. The blood is drawn out, sent through a separate machine for filtration, and then sent back into the body through a separate needle.
You will need to undergo the routine blood in your pre-procedure work up.
Your doctor will walk with you through the process after dialysis.
The complications of liver dialysis are may include, hemorrhage, secondary infections and hypotension
How long does one session of liver dialysis usually take?
The procedure can last up to 6 hours, but you may need only one or two sessions to help support your damaged liver.