Non anti-coagulant factors associated with filter life in continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT): a systematic review and meta-analysis

Matthew Brain, Elizabeth Winson, Owen Roodenburg, John McNeil

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70 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Optimising filter life and performance efficiency in continuous renal replacement therapy has been a focus of considerable recent research. Larger high quality studies have predominantly focussed on optimal anticoagulation however CRRT is complex and filter life is also affected by vascular access, circuit and management factors. We performed a systematic search of the literature to identify and quantify the effect of vascular access, circuit and patient factors that affect filter life and presented the results as a meta-analysis. Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed by searching Pubmed (MEDLINE) and Ovid EMBASE libraries from inception to 29th February 2016 for all studies with a comparator or independent variable relating to CRRT circuits and reporting filter life. Included studies documented filter life in hours with a comparator other than anti-coagulation intervention. All studies comparing anticoagulation interventions were searched for regression or hazard models pertaining to other sources of variation in filter life. Results: Eight hundred nineteen abstracts were identified of which 364 were selected for full text analysis. 24 presented data on patient modifiers of circuit life, 14 on vascular access modifiers and 34 on circuit related factors. Risk of bias was high and findings are hypothesis generating. Ranking of vascular access site by filter longevity favours: tunnelled semi-permanent catheters, femoral, internal jugular and subclavian last. There is inconsistency in the difference reported between femoral and jugular catheters. Amongst published literature, modality of CRRT consistently favoured continuous veno-venous haemodiafiltration (CVVHD-F) with an associated 44% lower failure rate compared to CVVH. There was a trend favouring higher blood flow rates. There is insufficient data to determine advantages of haemofilter membranes. Patient factors associated with a statistically significant worsening of filter life included mechanical ventilation, elevated SOFA or LOD score, elevations in ionized calcium, elevated platelet count, red cell transfusion, platelet factor 4 (PF-4) antibodies, and elevated fibrinogen. Majority of studies are observational or report circuit factors in sub-analysis. Risk of bias is high and findings require targeted investigations to confirm. Conclusion: The interaction of patient, pathology, anticoagulation, vascular access, circuit and staff factors contribute to CRRT filter life. There remains an ambiguity from published data as to which site and side should be the first choice for vascular access placement and what interaction this has with patient factors and timing. Early consideration of tunnelled semi-permanent access may provide optimal filter life if longer periods of CRRT are anticipated. There remains an absence of robust evidence outside of anti-coagulation strategies despite over 20 years of therapy delivery however trends favour CVVHD-F over CVVH.

Original languageEnglish
Article number69
JournalBMC Nephrology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2017


  • Continuous renal replacement therapy
  • CRRT
  • Femoral
  • Filter life
  • Jugular
  • Vascular access
  • Vein

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