Systematic review: extracorporeal bio-artificial liver-support system for liver failure.
Prior to the advent of the bioartificial liver there was little hope to offer the families of comatose patients unless an organ could be found immediately, or xenografting was attempted. The elevated intracranial pressure that develops is more life-threatening than prolonged bleeding times. Over a 2-year period, nine patients were bridged to transplantation using the BAL to keep them neurologically intact prior to surgery. The goal is to maintain the ICP less than 20 mmHg in adults and between 10 and 15 mmHg in children, so that the cerebral perfusion pressure remains above 50 mmHg. The first patients, a 35-year-old woman, arrived in stage II coma. The second patient, a 10-year-old boy in stage IV coma, had decerebrate posturing and anisocoria. The third patient, an 18-year-old girl, had an ICP of 28 mmHg with decerebrate posturing and disconjugate gaze. The fourth patient, a 34-year-old male, had an ICP of > 38 mmHg. The fifth patient, a 24-year-old male, had fixed dilated pupils. The sixth patient, a 50-year-old woman, had readings to 52 mmHg. The seventh patient, a 48-year-old male, had postoperative numbness in his fingertips that remitted. The eighth patient, a 31-year-old female, had decerebrate posturing and an ICP of 64 mmHg transiently. The ninth patient, a 52-year-old woman, had decerebrate posturing with a peak ICP of 50 mmHg. All nine patients survived.