Molecular Adsorbent Recirculating System (MARS®) in Hypoxic Hepatitis (MARS in HH)

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Medical University of Vienna

Status and phase

Phase 2


Hypoxic Liver Injury
Acute Liver Failure
Hypoxic Hepatitis
Ischemic Hepatitis
Shock Liver


Device: MARS

Study type


Funder types




Details and patient eligibility


Hypoxic hepatitis (HH) is reported to be the most frequent cause of elevated aminotransferase levels in hospital. Up to 10 % of critically ill patients develop HH during the course of their intensive care unit (ICU) stay. Occurrence of HH is a life threatening event and ICU-mortality is reported to be up to 60%. Early therapeutic intervention is of central prognostic importance in patients with HH to improve the hemodynamic impairment as early as possible, to reduce hyperammonemia and hepatic encephalopathy, to avoid progression of organ failure and to improve outcome. Studies reported that Molecular Adsorbent Recirculating System (MARS®) therapy improved the hemodynamic situation in patients with acute and acute on chronic liver failure. The study hypothesis is that MARS® therapy in critically ill patients with severe HH improves hepatic hemodynamics and function and consecutively the course of the disease. 40 patients with suffering of severe HH with aminotransferase levels \> 40 times the upper limit of normal of more than 12 hours will be randomized 1:1 to MARS® therapy (n=20) or conventional therapy (n=20). 4 MARS®-sessions will be performed on three consecutive days, each for at least 12 hours. Treatment will be continued under special circumstances. The maximum duration of the treatment phase is 7 days. The primary endpoint is the difference of the indocyanine plasma disappearance rate at day 7. The expected duration of the study is 2 years.


40 estimated patients




18+ years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • presence of severe hypoxic hepatitis with aminotransferase levels > 40 times the upper limit of normal
  • duration of hypoxic hepatitis more than 12 hours
  • age >/= 18 years

Exclusion criteria

  • age < 18 years
  • pregnancy
  • DNR - order
  • liver cirrhosis
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation with unknown neurological outcome and/or hypoxic brain damage
  • Expected survival of less than 24 hours

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Parallel Assignment


None (Open label)

40 participants in 2 patient groups

No Intervention group
Patients with severe HH will be treated with standard medical therapy (i.e. vasopressor support with norepinephrine in refractory hypotension = RR mean < 65 mmHg, positive inotropic support with dobutamine if the central venous oxygen saturation < 70%, renal replacement therapy in case of severe metabolic acidosis and/or renal failure, antibiotic treatment in case of suspected or proven infection, mechanical ventilation in case of severe hypoxemia or hypercapnia and/or GCS <= 8.
Experimental group
20 patients will be allocated by randomization to the MARS arm. Additionally to standard medical therapy they will receive 4 MARS sessions on three consecutive days, MARS® therapy will be applied for at least 12 hours per session. Thereafter, MARS® treatment will be continued if the patient still has increasing aminotransferase levels, requires vasopressor support or suffers from cholestasis (defined as serum bilirubin levels > 5 mg/dL) for 3 sessions again. There will be a maximum of 7 MARS ® sessions per patient.
Device: MARS

Trial contacts and locations



Central trial contact

Thomas Horvatits, MD; Valentin Fuhrmann, Prof

Data sourced from

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