While there is clear support for the use of continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) in critically ill acute renal failure patients, there are other illnesses without renal involvement where CRRT might be of value. These include sepsis and other inflammatory syndromes such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and cardiopulmonary bypass where removal of inflammatory mediators by hemofiltration is hypothesized to improve outcome. Adsorption appears to be the predominant mechanism of mediator elimination. However, the observed hemodynamic improvement can, at least partially, be attributed to a reduction of body temperature or to fluid removal, and the evidence for a clinically important removal of proinflammatory cytokines remains limited. Continuous and therefore smooth fluid removal may improve organ function in ARDS, after surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass, and in patients with refractory congestive heart failure. Continuous removal of endogenous toxins, eventually combined with intermittent hemodialysis, is probably beneficial in inborn errors of metabolism, severe lactic acidosis, or tumor lysis syndrome.