Is Regional Citrate Anticoagulation the Future of Hemodialysis?

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Citrate has many characteristics of the ideal anticoagulant for hemodialysis. In addition to immediate and complete anticoagulation in the dialysis circuit, citrate has important effects beyond anticoagulation, mainly in reducing inflammatory response induced by hemodialysis. Citrate has already become the standard anticoagulant in acute kidney injury requiring continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT), both for adults and children, with the citrate module being a part of modern CRRT monitors. Although the citrate module is not yet available for intermittent hemodialysis, precise infusion pumps, point-of-care ionometers and high citrate clearance from high flux dialyzers increase safety while reducing the risk of metabolic complications, both in adult and pediatric patients. Slovenia has a long tradition, high volume and expansion of citrate use in hemodialysis, including long-term citrate anticoagulation in selected patients. At the Department of Nephrology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, more than 10 000 citrate procedures were performed in 2015. We believe that regional citrate anticoagulation may replace heparin as the main anticoagulant for intermittent hemodialysis in the not so distant future.

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