High-volume haemofiltration for sepsis

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jan 31;(1):CD008075. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008075.pub2.


Background: Severe sepsis and septic shock are leading causes of death in the intensive care unit (ICU). This is despite advances in the management of patients with severe sepsis and septic shock including early recognition, source control, timely and appropriate administration of antimicrobial agents, and goal directed haemodynamic, ventilatory and metabolic therapies. High-volume haemofiltration (HVHF) is a blood purification technique which may improve outcomes in critically ill patients with severe sepsis or septic shock. The technique of HVHF has evolved from renal replacement therapies used to treat acute kidney injury (AKI) in critically ill patients in the ICU.

Objectives: This review assessed whether HVHF improves clinical outcome in adult critically ill patients with sepsis in an ICU setting.

Search methods: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library, 2011, Issue 7); MEDLINE (1990 to August 2011), EMBASE (1990 to August 2011); LILACS (1982 to August 2011), Web of Science (1990 to August 2011), CINAHL (1982 to August 2011) and specific websites.

Selection criteria: We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-randomized trials comparing HVHF or high-volume haemodiafiltration to standard or usual dialysis therapy; and RCTs and quasi-randomized trials comparing HVHF or high-volume haemodiafiltration to no similar dialysis therapy. The studies involved adults in critical care units.

Data collection and analysis: Three review authors independently extracted data and assessed trial quality. We sought additional information as required from trialists.

Main results: We included three randomized trials involving 64 participants. Due to the small number of studies and participants, it was not possible to combine data or perform sub-group analyses. One trial reported ICU and 28-day mortality, one trial reported hospital mortality and in the third, the number of deaths stated did not match the quoted mortality rates. No trials reported length of stay in ICU or hospital and one reported organ dysfunction. No adverse events were reported. Overall, the included studies had a low risk of bias.

Authors' conclusions: There were no adverse effects of HVHF reported.There is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of HVHF in critically ill patients with severe sepsis and or septic shock except as interventions being investigated in the setting of a randomized clinical trial. These trials should be large, multi-centred and have clinically relevant outcome measures. Financial implications should also be assessed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Critical Illness / mortality
  • Hemodiafiltration / methods
  • Hemofiltration / methods*
  • Hemofiltration / mortality
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sepsis / mortality
  • Sepsis / therapy*
  • Shock, Septic / mortality
  • Shock, Septic / therapy