Maryland emergency doctors find new life-saving use in old machine

From the Sun:

It’s an off-label use of the Molecular Adsorbent Recirculating System machine, or MARS, which has been around for decades. MARS is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration only to treat poisoning cases and brain swelling from liver failure. Its manufacturer, Baxter International Inc., says 20 hospitals actively use it.

Livers primarily filter blood coming from the digestive track, metabolizing toxins such as alcohol and drugs, and creating vital proteins. Humans cannot live without a functioning liver.

Shock Trauma doctors wanted to try the MARS device as a temporary stand-in for badly damaged livers, giving patients a chance to begin healing or for transplants to be arranged, but first they had to find one.

After checking with Baxter, they found an area hospital that was returning a MARS machine.

“We literally got one off the back of a truck driving up I-95,” said Dr. Thomas Scalea, the center’s physician-in-chief.

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