Pediatric continuous renal replacement: 20 years later

Intensive Care Med. 2015 Jun;41(6):985-93. doi: 10.1007/s00134-015-3807-0. Epub 2015 Apr 17.


Introduction: More than 20 years have passed since the first clinical application of continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) in children. In that revolutionary era, before roller pumps and dialysis monitors for intensive care units were readily available, continuous arteriovenous hemofiltration was the most common treatment for critically ill children.

Major findings: Those steps were the basis for current knowledge about modern CRRT. Research on circuit rheology and filter materials allowed for the improvement of materials, and the optimization of patency and session life spans. Hemofiltration was coupled with dialysis to increase dialytic dose and system efficiency. Several systems were required to optimize ultrafiltration and manage fluid overload. A quarter of a century later, another revolution is taking place. Acute renal failure has been recognized as a threatening syndrome, independently associated with mortality in critically ill children and characterized by a broad spectrum of clinical phenotypes. For this reason, it has been redefined as acute kidney injury (AKI). This condition is today accurately classified in both adults and children, and has been identified as a primary condition for prevention and aggressive treatment in all pediatric intensive care unit patients. Critically ill neonates and children with multiple organ dysfunction are certainly at higher risk of AKI. Finally, novel technology specifically dedicated to pediatric patients allows feasible and easy application of CRRT to infants and children: a new field of critical care nephrology, dedicated to pediatric patients, has been fully developed.

Conclusion: After 20 years, significant developments in critical care nephrology have taken place. Clinical and technical issues have both been addressed, and severe pediatric AKI can currently be managed with accurate and safe dialysis machines that will likely warrant outcome improvements over the following decade.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects
  • Renal Dialysis / methods*
  • Renal Dialysis / trends*
  • Vascular Access Devices