Myoglobin has a relatively high molecular weight of 17,000 Da and is poorly cleared by dialysis (diffusion). However, elimination of myoglobin might be enhanced by an epuration modality based on convection for solute clearances. We present a single case of myoglobin-induced renal failure (peak creatine kinase level: 313,500 IU/l) treated by continuous venovenous hemofiltration (CVVH). Our purpose was to evaluate the efficiency of such a modality using an ultrafiltration rate of 2 to 3 l/h for myoglobin removal and clearance. The hemofilter was a 0.9 m(2) polyacrylonitrile (AN69) membrane Multiflow-100 (Hospal-Gambro, St-Leonard, Canada) and the blood flow rate was maintained at 150 ml/min by an AK-10 pump (Hospal-Gambro, St-Leonard, Canada). The ultrafiltration bag was placed 60 cm below the hemofilter and was free of pump control or suction device. Serum myoglobin concentration was 92,000 microg/l at CVVH initiation and dropped to 28,600 microg/l after 18 h of the continuous modality. The mean sieving coefficient for myoglobin was 0.6 during the first 9 h of therapy and this decreased to 0.4 during the following 7 h. Mean clearance of myoglobin was 22 ml/min, decreasing to 14 ml/min during corresponding periods, while the mean ultrafiltration rates were relatively stable at 2,153 +/- 148 ml/h and 2,074 +/- 85 ml/h, respectively. In contrast to myoglobin, the sieving coefficeint for urea, creatinine, and phosphorus remained stable at 1.0 during the first 16 h of CVVH. More than 700 mg of myoglobin were removed by CVVH during the entire treatment. In conclusion, considerable amounts of myoglobin can be removed by an extracorporeal modality allowing important convective fluxes and middle molecule clearances, such as CVVH at a rate of 2 to 3 l/h using an AN69 hemofilter. If myoglobin clearance had been maintained at 22 ml/min, 32 l of serum would have been cleared per day. However, the sieving coefficient of myoglobin decreased over time, probably as a consequence of protein coating and/or blood clotting of the hemofilter. Whereas myoglobin can be removed by CVVH, it remains unknown at this point if such a modality, applied early, can alter or shorten the course of myoglobinuric acute renal failure.