Utilization of aquapheresis among hospitalized patients with end-stage liver disease: A case series and literature review

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Third-spacing of fluid is a common complication in hospitalized patients with decompensated cirrhosis. In addition to ascites, patients with advanced cirrhosis may develop significant peripheral edema, which may limit mobility and exacerbate debility and muscle wasting. Concomitant kidney failure and cardiac dysfunction may lead to worsening hypervolemia, which may ultimately result in pulmonary edema and respiratory compromise. Diuretic use in such patients may be limited by kidney dysfunction and electrolyte abnormalities, including hyponatremia and hypokalemia. A slow, continuous form of ultrafiltration known as aquapheresis is a method of extracorporeal fluid removal whereby a pump generates a transmembrane pressure that forces an isotonic ultrafiltrate across a semipermeable membrane. This leads to removal of an ultrafiltrate that is isotonic to blood without the need for dialysate or replacement fluid as is necessary in other forms of continuous kidney replacement therapy. This technique has been utilized in other conditions including acute decompensated heart failure, with trials showing mixed, but generally favorable results. Herein, we present a series of our own experience using aquapheresis among patients with cirrhosis, review the literature regarding its use in other hypervolemic states, and discuss how we may apply lessons learned from use of aquapheresis in heart failure to patients with end-stage liver disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15221
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • aquapheresis
  • end-stage liver disease
  • hyponatremia
  • liver transplantation
  • renal replacement therapy
  • ultrafiltration


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