Severe sepsis and septic shock are leading causes of death in the intensive care unit (ICU), despite advances in the treatment of patients with severe sepsis and septic shock, including early recognition, appropriate treatment with antibiotics and support of organs that may have been affected by the illness. High-volume haemofiltration (HVHF) is a blood purification technique that may improve outcomes in severe sepsis or septic shock. The technique of HVHF has evolved from renal replacement therapies used in the ICU to treat critically ill patients with acute kidney injury (AKI). This review was first published in 2013 and was updated in 2016.
To investigate whether HVHF improves outcomes in critically ill adults admitted to the intensive care unit with severe sepsis or septic shock. The primary outcome of this systematic review is patient mortality; secondary outcomes include duration of stay, severity of organ dysfunction and adverse events.
For this updated version, we extended searches of the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, Embase, Latin American Caribbean Health Sciences Literature (LILACS), Web of Science and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) to 31 December 2015. The original search was performed in 2011. We also searched trials registers.
We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-randomized trials comparing HVHF or high-volume haemodiafiltration versus standard or usual dialysis therapy, as well as RCTs and quasi-randomized trials comparing HVHF or high-volume haemodiafiltration versus no similar dialysis therapy. These studies involved adults treated in critical care units.
Three review authors independently extracted data and assessed trial quality. We sought additional information from trialists as required.
We included four randomized trials involving 200 participants. Owing to small numbers of studies and participants, it was not possible to combine data for all outcomes. Two trials reported 28-day mortality, and one trial reported hospital mortality; in the third trial, the number of deaths stated did not match the quoted mortality rates. The pooled risk ratio (95% confidence interval) for 28-day mortality associated with HVHF was 0.89 (0.60 to 1.32, two trials, 146 participants, low-quality evidence). One study (137 participants, low-quality evidence) reported length of stay in the ICU. Two trials (170 participants, low-quality evidence) reported organ dysfunction, but we could not pool results owing to reporting differences. Three studies (189 participants, low-quality evidence) reported on haemodynamic changes, but we could not pool results owing to reporting differences. Investigators reported no adverse events. Overall, the included studies had low risk of bias.
Investigators reported no adverse effects of HVHF (low-quality evidence). The results of this meta-analysis show that very few studies have been conducted to investigate the use of HVHF in critically ill patients with severe sepsis or septic shock (four studies, 201 participants, low-quality evidence). Researchers should consider additional randomized controlled trials that are large and multi-centred and have clinically relevant outcome measures. The cost-effectiveness of HVHF should also be studied. .