Medicine: A Liver's Best Friend

Thanks to drugs, surgery and mechanical devices, a failing heart need not be fatal. Machines or transplants can also preserve life when the kidneys stop working. The patient whose liver can no longer metabolize and dispose of his body's poisonous wastes, however, eventually lapses into a coma and dies. Exchange transfusions to replace most of his blood may help for short periods, but no machine yet devised can substitute for the organ, and the livers of pigs and calves have proved inadequate to the task of cleansing human blood. Now it appears that in a liver coma crisis, man's best friend...

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