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Efficacy of therapeutic plasma exchange in pediatric cases of acute liver failure as an extracorporeal liver support system.

BACKGROUND: Acute liver failure in the pediatric population is often accompanied by deranged metabolism, severe encephalopathy and coagulopathy. A liver transplant is the most viable option for the management of such patients. Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) is helpful in improving the liver biochemistry profile, thereby, increasing their likelihood of undergoing a liver transplant METHOD: The study was conducted over a period of 3 years (January 2018 to December 2021). Indications mainly consisted of ALF with hepatic encephalopathy, worsening liver parameters in spite of medical management, and candidacy for undergoing a liver transplant. Plasma exchange was performed daily or alternatively until the patient recovered, succumbed, or was stable enough to undergo a transplant. Biochemical parameters serum bilirubin, ALT, AST serum ammonia serum urea, serum creatinine were recorded before and after TPE sessions.

RESULTS: The study group comprised 14 patients of which a total of 28 TPE was performed. There were a total of 5 cases of cryptogenic ALF, 4 of Wilson disease, 2 cases each of infection-related ALF and autoimmune hepatitis, and a single case of drug-induced hepatitis. A total of 5 out of 14 patients underwent a liver transplant and amongst the 9 who did not undergo a transplant, 4 patients expired due to septic shock syndrome; the remaining 5 were discharged in a stable condition following TPE sessions. The disease-free survival was 78.9% and the transplant-free survival was 35.71%.

CONCLUSION: TPE plays a crucial role in improving the biochemistry profile of the liver in children with liver failure.

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