We conducted a pilot study to assess the feasibility and efficacy of postdilution hemofiltration (PDHF) in the management of acute hepatic failure. From January 1984 through May 1986, we encountered seven patients with acute hepatic failure and entered these consecutive patients in the study; three had non-A, non-B hepatitis and one each had type B hepatitis, fulminant Wilson's disease (hepatolenticular degeneration), acute allograft (liver) failure, and acute fatty liver of pregnancy. Two of these seven patients were unable to undergo PDHF because of a precarious hemodynamic status. Of the five patients treated with PDHF, four had amelioration of hepatic encephalopathy; in two of these patients, a close temporal relationship was noted between the improvement and the procedure. Four patients had appreciable thrombocytopenia related to PDHF and bleeding complications. Our preliminary results support a possible role for PDHF as a temporary artificial liver support system for patients with acute hepatic failure.
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