Continuous renal replacement therapy is associated with reduced serum ammonia levels and mortality in acute liver failure

Filipe S. Cardoso, Michelle Gottfried, Shannan Tujios, Jody C. Olson, Constantine J. Karvellas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Hyperammonemia has been associated with intracranial hypertension and mortality in patients with acute liver failure (ALF). We evaluated the effect of renal replacement therapy (RRT) on serum ammonia level and outcomes in ALF. This was a multicenter cohort study of consecutive ALF patients from the United States ALF Study Group registry between January 1998 and December 2016. First, we studied the association of ammonia with hepatic encephalopathy (HE) and 21-day transplant-free survival (TFS; n = 1,186). Second, we studied the effect of RRT on ammonia for the first 3 days post study admission (n = 340) and on 21-day TFS (n = 1,186). Higher admission (n = 1,186) median ammonia level was associated with grade 3-4 HE (116 vs. 83 μmol/L) and mortality at day 21 attributed to neurological (181 vs. 90 μmol/L) and all causes (114 vs. 83 μmol/L; P < 0.001 for all). Among 340 patients with serial ammonia levels, 61 (18%) were on continuous RRT (CRRT), 59 (17%) were on intermittent RRT (IRRT), and 220 (65%) received no RRT for the first 2 days. From days 1 to 3, median ammonia decreased by 38%, 23%, and 19% with CRRT, IRRT, and no RRT, respectively. Comparing to no RRT use, whereas ammonia reduction with CRRT was significant (P = 0.007), with IRRT it was not (P = 0.75). After adjusting for year of enrollment, age, etiology, and disease severity, whereas CRRT (odds ratio [OR], 0.47 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 0.26-0.82]) was associated with reduction in 21-day transplant-free all-cause mortality, IRRT (OR, 1.68 [95% CI, 1.04-2.72]) was associated with an increase. Conclusion: In a large cohort of ALF patients, hyperammonemia was associated with high-grade HE and worse 21-day TFS. CRRT was associated with a reduction in serum ammonia level and improvement of 21-day TFS. (Hepatology 2018;67:711-720).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-720
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


Dive into the research topics of 'Continuous renal replacement therapy is associated with reduced serum ammonia levels and mortality in acute liver failure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this