Effectiveness and Safety Assessment of Citrate Anticoagulation During Albumin Dialysis in Comparison to Other Methods of Anticoagulation

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Liver failure is a serious and often deadly disease often requiring MARS (Molecular Adsorbent Recirculating System) therapy. Choosing the safe and effective method of anticoagulation during artificial liver support systems seems to be very difficult and extremely important. The aim of this study was to assess effectiveness and safety of regional anticoagulation with citrate in liver failure patients during MARS. We used a single center observational study. We analyzed 158 MARS sessions performed in 65 patients: 105 (66.5%) sessions in 41 patients with heparin anticoagulation, 40 (25.3%) sessions in 19 patients with citrate, and 13 (8%) sessions in only five patients without anticoagulation, that were excluded from part of the analysis. To determine the effectiveness of regional anticoagulation with citrate, probability of filter survival and changes in laboratory parameters were analyzed according to the applied method of anticoagulation. The safety of citrate was determined by Ca/Ca2+ ratio, acid-base balance, bleeding complications, and the need for blood product transfusions. The probability of filter survival in the citrate group was 94% and in the heparin group 82% (P = 0.204). There was no relationship between the method of anticoagulation and effectiveness of MARS therapy in lowering the levels of the analyzed parameters. Only one patient had a Ca/Ca2+ ratio higher than he safety margin. There were no statistically significant changes in pH and lactate level irrespective of anticoagulation; bicarbonate dropped significantly only in the heparin group (P = 0.03). The frequency of bleeding complications and the need for transfusions did not differ significantly between groups. Regional anticoagulation with citrate can be an effective and safe method of anticoagulation during MARS therapy, but requires attentive monitoring and further studies in liver failure patients.

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