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Acute Liver FailureHealth Professionals Blog

Role of high-volume plasmapheresis in the management of paediatric acute liver failure

Title: Role of high-volume plasmapheresis in the management of paediatric acute liver failure

Source: Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 2024, Apr 16. [E-publication]

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Date of publication: April 2024

Publication type: Retrospective observational study

Abstract: Objectives: Paediatric acute liver failure (PALF) is a life-threatening disease. Management aims to support hepatic regeneration or to bridge to liver transplantation. High-volume plasmapheresis (HVP) removes protein-bound substances, alleviates inflammation, and improves survival in adult acute liver failure. However, experience with HVP in PALF is limited. Aim of this study is to report on feasibility, safety, efficacy and outcomes of HVP in PALF.

Methods: Retrospective observational study in children with PALF. HVP was performed upon identification of negative prognostic indicators, in toxic aetiology or multiorgan failure (MOF). Exchanged volume with fresh-frozen plasma corresponded to 1.5-2.0 times the patient’s estimated plasma volume. One daily cycle was performed until the patient met criteria for discontinuation, that is, liver regeneration, liver transplantation, or death.

Results: Twenty-two children with PALF (body weight 2.5-106 kg) received 1-7 HVP cycles. No bleeding or procedure-related mortality occurred. Alkalosis, hypothermia and reduction in platelets were observed. Haemolysis led to HVP termination in one infant. Seven children (32%) survived with their native livers, 13 patients (59%) underwent liver transplantation. Two infants died due to MOF. Overall survival was 86%. International normalization ratio (INR), alanine aminotransaminases (ALT), bilirubin and inotropic support were reduced significantly (p < 0.05) after the first HVP-cycle (median): INR 2.85 versus 1.5; ALT 1280 versus 434 U/L; bilirubin 12.7 versus 6.7 mg/dL; norepinephrine dosage 0.083 versus 0.009 µg/kg/min. Median soluble-interleukin-2-receptor dropped significantly following HVP (n = 7): 2407 versus 950 U/mL (p < 0.02).

Conclusions: HVP in PALF is feasible, safe, improves markers of liver failure and inflammation and is associated with lowering inotropic support. Prospective and controlled studies are required to confirm efficacy of HVP in PALF.

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