An update on membranes and cartridges for extracorporeal blood purification in sepsis and septic shock

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Abstract

Purpose of review

This review aims to summarize the most recent advances on different membranes and cartridges used for extracorporeal blood purification in critically ill patients with sepsis or septic shock.

Recent findings

Despite positive signals from experimental, cases and small clinical studies, blood purification showed no distinct morbidity and mortality benefit in large clinical trials.

Summary

None of the discussed specific membranes or cartridges can currently be recommended as sole adjunctive treatment in sepsis and septic shock. Any available technique should be timely initiated and adapted to the patient's status. Sickest patients seem to benefit more from blood purification. Patient selection is thus of crucial importance and may be optimized by focusing on disease severity and degree of organ failure. Measurement of endotoxin activity and plasma procalcitonin levels can support the selection process but ideal cutoff values need to be defined. Well-designed prospective randomized clinical trials assessing or comparing the various available membranes and cartridges are eagerly awaited.

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