Adjuvant hemoadsorption therapy in patients with severe COVID-19 and related organ failure requiring CRRT or ECMO therapy: A case series

Int J Artif Organs. 2021 Oct;44(10):694-702. doi: 10.1177/03913988211030517. Epub 2021 Jul 13.


Introduction: Severe cases of the COVID-19 are often associated with the development of a fulminant sepsis-like state with a concomitant cytokine release syndrome. Recently, immunomodulating approaches to treat such a hyperinflammation have come into focus, including the use of new extracorporeal organ support therapies such as CytoSorb hemoadsorption designed to remove cytokines and other circulating mediators from blood.

Patients and methods: Thirteen critically ill COVID-19 patients with ARDS who received either ECMO therapy and/or CRRT with concomitant multiple organ failure were included. Hemoadsorption therapy was initiated once the patient had established-or was at high risk of developing-a hyperinflammatory state with marked hemodynamic instability or progressive lung failure. Levels of inflammatory markers, vasopressor requirements, oxygenation, and ventilation parameters were measured, as well as clinically relevant outcome measures.

Results: Combined therapy was associated with a significant reduction in inflammatory mediators, hemodynamic stabilization with a concomitant decrease in requirements for vasoactive substances, and a pronounced improvement in lung function and the need for ventilatory support. Treatment appeared safe and well-tolerated.

Conclusions: In this case series of SARS-CoV-2 infected patients admitted to the intensive care unit with ARDS, we report effective interleukin (IL)-6 removal, reduced norepinephrine requirement, and improved lung function while receiving adjuvant, extracorporeal hemoadsorption therapy in the context of a multimodal treatment approach. The presented protocol for CytoSorb initiation may be a good foundation for the development of further prospective studies in the field and may eventually also be applied to other forms of hyperinflammatory ARDS.

Keywords: Coronavirus disease 2019; CytoSorb; acute respiratory distress syndrome; continuous renal replacement therapy; extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; hemoadsorption; hyperinflammation.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation*
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2