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Septic AKI in ICU patients. diagnosis, pathophysiology, and treatment type, dosing, and timing: a comprehensive review of recent and future developments

Patrick M Honore1*, Rita Jacobs1, Olivier Joannes-Boyau2, Jouke De Regt1, Willem Boer3, Elisabeth De Waele1, Vincent Collin4 and Herbert D Spapen1

Author Affiliations

1 Intensive Care Department, Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel, Vrije Universitieit Brussel (VUB), 101, Laarbeeklaan, 1090 Jette, Brussels, Belgium

2 Departement d'Anesthesie-Reanimation II (DAR II), Haut Leveque University Hospital of Bordeaux, University of Bordeaux 2, Pessac, France

3 Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg, Genk, Belgium

4 Intensive Care Unit, Cliniques de l'Europe-Site St Michel, Brussels, Belgium

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Annals of Intensive Care 2011, 1:32  doi:10.1186/2110-5820-1-32

Published: 9 August 2011


Evidence is accumulating showing that septic acute kidney injury (AKI) is different from non-septic AKI. Specifically, a large body of research points to apoptotic processes underlying septic AKI. Unravelling the complex and intertwined apoptotic and immuno-inflammatory pathways at the cellular level will undoubtedly create new and exciting perspectives for the future development (e.g., caspase inhibition) or refinement (specific vasopressor use) of therapeutic strategies. Shock complicating sepsis may cause more AKI but also will render treatment of this condition in an hemodynamically unstable patient more difficult. Expert opinion, along with the aggregated results of two recent large randomized trials, favors continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) as preferential treatment for septic AKI (hemodynamically unstable). It is suggested that this approach might decrease the need for subsequent chronic dialysis. Large-scale introduction of citrate as an anticoagulant most likely will change CRRT management in intensive care units (ICU), because it not only significantly increases filter lifespan but also better preserves filter porosity. A possible role of citrate in reducing mortality and morbidity, mainly in surgical ICU patients, remains to be proven. Also, citrate administration in the predilution mode appears to be safe and exempt of relevant side effects, yet still requires rigorous monitoring. Current consensus exists about using a CRRT dose of 25 ml/kg/h in non-septic AKI. However, because patients should not be undertreated, this implies that doses as high as 30 to 35 ml/kg/h must be prescribed to account for eventual treatment interruptions. Awaiting results from large, ongoing trials, 35 ml/kg/h should remain the standard dose in septic AKI, particularly when shock is present. To date, exact timing of CRRT is not well defined. A widely accepted composite definition of timing is needed before an appropriate study challenging this major issue can be launched.

Hemofiltration; Acute Kidney Injury; Pathphysiology; Dosing; Timing; Diagnosis; Review; CRRT; Dialysis; Septic Acute Kidney Injury; Sepsis; SIRS