The low water permeability feature of original cellulosic membranes was considered an advantage in the absence of dialysis equipment that are capable of controlling water removal. The advent of ultrafiltration control systems led to the development and use of high-flux (HF) membranes that allowed improved middle molecule removal including β-2 microglobulin. Further advances in technology allowed better control over the structure and permeability of membranes. Different polymers and improved spinning modalities led to significant advances in solute removal and hemocompatibility. Inner surface modification produced a reduction in membrane thrombogenicity and protein-membrane interaction with a less tendency to fouling and permeability decay. Further evolution in technology led to the development of a new class of membranes referred to as protein-leaking membranes or super-flux or high cutoff (HCO). These membranes are more permeable than conventional HF membranes and allow some passage of proteins, including albumin. The rationale for these membranes is the need for increased clearance of low molecular weight proteins and protein-bound solutes. However, albumin loss in protein-leaking HCO membranes represents a limitation whose effect in patients is still controversial. The last evolution in the field of membranes is the development of a new class defined as "high retention onset" (HRO) due to the peculiar high sieving value in the middle to high molecular weight range. The introduction of HRO membranes in the clinical routine has enabled the development of a new concept therapy called "expanded hemodialysis." Its simple set up and application offer the possibility to use it even in patients with suboptimal vascular access or even with an indwelling catheter. The system does not require particular hardware or unusual nursing skill. The quality of dialysis fluid is, however, mandatory to ensure a safe conduction of the dialysis session. This new therapy is likely to modify the outcome of end-stage kidney disease patients, thanks to the enhanced removal of molecules traditionally retained by current dialysis techniques.
© 2017 S. Karger AG, Basel.