Objective: The HepatAssist liver support system is an extracorporeal porcine hepatocyte-based bioartificial liver (BAL). The safety and efficacy of the BAL were evaluated in a prospective, randomized, controlled, multicenter trial in patients with severe acute liver failure. Summary Background Data: In experimental animals with acute liver failure, we demonstrated beneficial effects of the BAL. Similarly, Phase I trials of the BAL in acute liver failure patients yielded promising results. Methods: A total of 171 patients (86 control and 85 BAL) were enrolled. Patients with fulminant/subfulminant hepatic failure and primary nonfunction following liver transplantation were included. Data were analyzed with and without accounting for the following confounding factors: liver transplantation, time to transplant, disease etiology, disease severity, and treatment site. Results: For the entire patient population, survival at 30 days was 71% for BAL versus 62% for control (P = 0.26). After exclusion of primary nonfunction patients, survival was 73% for BAL versus 59% for control (n = 147; P = 0.12). When survival was analyzed accounting for confounding factors, in the entire patient population, there was no difference between the 2 groups (risk ratio = 0.67; P = 0.13). However, survival in fulminant/subfulminant hepatic failure patients was significantly higher in the BAL compared with the control group (risk ratio = 0.56; P = 0.048). Conclusions: This is the first prospective, randomized, controlled trial of an extracorporeal liver support system, demonstrating safety and improved survival in patients with fulminant/subfulminant hepatic failure.