Sepsis remains the major cause of mortality worldwide, claiming millions of lives each year. The past decade has seen major advances in the understanding of the biological mechanisms involved in this complex process. Unfortunately, no definitive therapy yet exists that can successfully treat sepsis and its complications. At variance with targeting single mediators, therapeutic intervention aimed at the nonselective removal of pro- and antiinflammatory mediators seems a rational concept and a possible key to successful extracorporeal therapies. A further advantage may lie in the continuous nature of such therapy. With such continuous therapy, sequentially appearing peaks of systemic mediator overflow may be attenuated and persistently high plasma levels reduced. This theoretical framework is proposed as the underlying biological rationale for a series of innovative modalities in sepsis. In this editorial, we will review recent animal and human trials that lend support to this concept. We will also review the importance of treatment dose during continuous renal replacement therapy as a major factor affecting survival in critically ill patients with acute renal failure. Additionally, we will review novel information related to other blood purification techniques using large pore membranes or plasma filtration with adsorbent perfusion. Although these approaches are still in the early stages of clinical testing, they are conceptually promising and might represent an important advance.
- Acute renal failure