Sambit Sen, Lars M. Ytrebø, Christopher Rose, Ole-Martin Fuskevåg, Nathan A. Davies, Geir I. Nedredal, Roger Williams, Arthur Revhaug, Rajiv Jalan.
OBJECTIVE: Although water-soluble drugs can be removed by haemofiltration/haemodialysis, morbidity and mortality from intoxication with protein-bound drugs remains high. The present study investigates whether albumin dialysis in the form of the Molecular Adsorbents Recirculating System (MARS) is effective in removal of protein-bound drugs. DESIGN: Prospective animal study. SETTING: Surgical research laboratory in a university hospital. SUBJECTS: Seven female Norwegian Landrace pigs. INTERVENTION: We studied whether midazolam (97% albumin-bound) and fentanyl (85% alpha-1-acid glycoprotein-bound), administered as anaesthetics to pigs with induced acute liver failure, could be removed by MARS dialysis lasting for 4 h. MEASUREMENTS: After 4 h of dialysis, total and free anaesthetic concentrations were measured in the blood and dialysate from different segments of the MARS circuit. MAIN RESULTS: Midazolam: total plasma concentrations fell by 47.1+/-2.1% (in 4 h) across the MARS filter ( p<0.01). The charcoal component of the system reduced the total dialysate drug concentration by 16.4+/-2.2% ( p<0.05). Free midazolam removal followed a similar pattern. Fentanyl: total plasma concentrations fell by 56.1+/-2.4% (in 4 h) across the MARS filter ( p<0.01). Clearance of fentanyl from the dialysate by the charcoal was 70+/-0.7% at 4 h ( p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The results of the study show that MARS can remove both albumin and other protein-bound drugs efficiently from the plasma, and it may have a place for the treatment of patients suffering from intoxication with this class of compounds.