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Early initiation of MARS® dialysis in Amanita phalloides-induced acute liver injury prevents liver transplantation

Mike Hendrik Pillukat, Tina Schomacher, Peter Baier, Gert Gabriëls, Hermann Pavenstädt, Hartmut H. J. Schmidt


Amanita phalloides is the most relevant mushroom intoxication leading to acute liver failure. The two principal groups of toxins, the amatoxins and the phallotoxins, are small oligopeptides highly resistant to chemical and physical influences. The amatoxins inhibit eukaryotic RNA polymerase II causing transcription arrest affecting mainly metabolically highly active cells like hepatocytes and renal cells. The clinically most characteristic symptom is a 6-40 h lag phase before onset of gastrointestinal symptoms and the rapid progression of acute liver failure leading to multi-organ failure and death within a week if left untreated. Extracorporeal albumin dialysis (ECAD) was reported to improve patient’s outcome or facilitate bridging to transplantation. In our tertiary center, out of nine intoxicated individuals from five non-related families six patients presented with acute liver injury; all of them were treated with ECAD using the MARS® system. Four of them were listed on admission for high urgency liver transplantation. In addition to standard medical treatment for Amanita intoxication we initiated ECAD once patients were admitted to our center. Overall 16 dialysis sessions were performed. All patients survived with full native liver recovery without the need for transplantation. ECAD was well tolerated; no severe adverse events were reported during treatment. Coagulopathy resolved within days in all patients, and acute kidney injury in all but one individual. In conclusion, ECAD is highly effective in treating intoxication with Amanita phalloides. Based on these experiences we suggest early initiation and repeated sessions depending on response to ECAD with the chance of avoiding liver transplantation.

Key words. Mushroom intoxication, Albumin dialysis, Amatoxin, Silibinin, Death cap

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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