Current Opinion in Anesthesiology vol:14 issue:2 pages:143-9
Anticoagulation during continuous renal replacement therapy should aim for an optimal filter performance allowing the delivery of an adequate dose of renal replacement therapy. On the other hand, the patient's safety should not be endangered. Although numerous options have been proposed, none of them appears to be ideal. Unfractionated heparin is still the most widely used anticoagulant. Reported experience with low-molecular-weight heparin is limited and does not confirm the anticipated increased safety. Regional citrate anticoagulation has been shown to reduce bleeding complications during continuous haemodialysis. A recent report demonstrates the feasibility and safety of citrate anticoagulation during continuous predilution haemofiltration. However, its use is labour intensive and the prevention of side-effects requires meticulous monitoring. Hirudin, a selective thrombin inhibitor, appears to be a suitable, although not completely safe, alternative in patients with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. Continuous renal replacement therapy without anticoagulation may result in acceptable filter lives in patients with reduced coagulatory potential or an increased risk of bleeding. Although receiving little attention in the literature, the adequate selection of treatment characteristics may also contribute to an improved filter performance.