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Pereira SP, McCarthy M, Ellis AJ, Wendon J, Portmann B, Rela M, Heaton N, Williams R. 
“Auxiliary partial orthotopic liver transplantation for acute liver failure”. 
J Hepatol. 1997;26(5):1010-7.
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Auxiliary partial orthotopic liver transplantation holds potential advantages over conventional orthotopic liver transplantation, but experience with the technique in acute liver failure is limited.

METHODS: We describe our initial experience in seven patients (4 men, 3 women; mean age 28, range 14-35 years) with acute liver failure (paracetamol 3, non A-E 2, autoimmune 1, Ecstasy 1) who fulfilled criteria for emergency transplantation. Preoperatively, the median international normalised ratio was seven (range 3.4-15), with a creatinine of 123 microM (51-389 microM) and bilirubin 320 microM (61-572 microM). The reasons for performing an auxiliary transplant were the patients' young age and stable preoperative condition (n = 5), or a significant psychiatric history precluding conventional transplantation (n = 2).

RESULTS: All patients received blood group-matched left (n = 2) or right (n = 5) auxiliary grafts. Median duration of surgery was 8.5 h (7.3-10 h), with blood loss of 8.3 litres (4.6-14.6 litres). Post-transplant, the international normalised ratio and aspartate aminotransferase fell progressively in all patients, with median values at day 7 of 1.4 (1.0-2.4) and 108 IU/1 (78-910 IU/1). Three patients died from sepsis within the first postoperative month. At 2 weeks, four of six patients had partial regeneration of the native liver, which became complete in two of the survivors by 1 year. CONCLUSIONS: Although patient selection remains poorly defined, auxiliary partial orthotopic liver transplantation in acute liver failure is technically feasible and, in some patients, allows native liver regeneration and eventual immunosuppression withdrawal.
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