Systematic review and meta-analysis of renal replacement therapy modalities for acute kidney injury in the intensive care unit

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To compare clinical outcomes among critically ill adults with acute kidney injury (AKI) treated with continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT), intermittent hemodialysis (IHD) or sustained low efficiency dialysis (SLED).

Materials and methods:

We completed a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies published in 2015 or earlier using MEDLINE®, EMBASE®, Cochrane databases and grey literature. Eligible studies included randomized clinical trials (RCTs) or prospective cohort studies comparing outcomes of mortality, dialysis dependence or length of stay among critically ill adults receiving CRRT, IHD or SLED to treat AKI. Mortality and dialysis dependence from RCTs were pooled using meta-analytic techniques. Length of stay from RCTs and results from prospective cohort studies were described qualitatively.


Twenty-one studies were eligible. RRT modality was not associated with in-hospital mortality (CRRT vs IHD: RR 1.00 [95% CI, 0.92–1.09], CRRT vs SLED: RR 1.23 [95% CI, 1.00–1.51]) or dialysis dependence (CRRT vs IHD: RR 0.90 [95% CI, 0.59–1.38], CRRT vs SLED: RR 1.15 [95% CI, 0.67–1.99]).


We did not find a definitive advantage for any RRT modality on short-term patient or kidney survival. Well-designed, adequately-powered trials are needed to better define the role of RRT modalities for treatment of critically ill patients with AKI.

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