Regional citrate anticoagulation for RRTs in critically ill patients with AKI

Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2014 Dec 5;9(12):2173-88. doi: 10.2215/CJN.01280214. Epub 2014 Jul 3.


Hemorrhagic complications have been reported in up to 30% of critically ill patients with AKI undergoing RRT with systemic anticoagulation. Because bleeding is associated with significantly increased mortality risk, strategies aimed at reducing hemorrhagic complications while maintaining extracorporeal circulation should be implemented. Among the alternatives to systemic anticoagulation, regional citrate anticoagulation has been shown to prolong circuit life while reducing the incidence of hemorrhagic complications and lowering transfusion needs. For these reasons, the recently published Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes Clinical Practice Guidelines for Acute Kidney Injury have recommended regional citrate anticoagulation as the preferred anticoagulation modality for continuous RRT in critically ill patients in whom it is not contraindicated. However, the use of regional citrate anticoagulation is still limited because of concerns related to the risk of metabolic complications, the complexity of the proposed protocols, and the need for customized solutions. The introduction of simplified anticoagulation protocols based on citrate and the development of dialysis monitors with integrated infusion systems and dedicated software could lead to the wider use of regional citrate anticoagulation in upcoming years.

Keywords: AKI; CRRT; SLED; citrate; regional anticoagulation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / therapy*
  • Anticoagulants / administration & dosage*
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects
  • Anticoagulants / metabolism
  • Anticoagulants / pharmacokinetics
  • Citrates / administration & dosage*
  • Citrates / adverse effects
  • Citrates / metabolism
  • Citrates / pharmacokinetics
  • Critical Illness
  • Dialysis Solutions
  • Hemorrhage / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Hypertonic Solutions / administration & dosage
  • Isotonic Solutions / administration & dosage
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Renal Replacement Therapy / methods*
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance / drug effects


  • Anticoagulants
  • Citrates
  • Dialysis Solutions
  • Hypertonic Solutions
  • Isotonic Solutions