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Contrib Nephrol. 2010;167:119-25. doi: 10.1159/000315926. Epub 2010 Jun 1.

Endotoxin removal: how far from the evidence? The EUPHAS 2 Project.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, University of Turin, Ospedale S. Giovanni Battista-Molinette, IT-10126 Turin, Italy.


Since 1994, a polystyrene fiber cartridge used for extracorporeal hemoperfusion, to which polymyxin B is bound and immobilized, has been used in septic patients in order to absorb and remove circulating lipopolysaccharide, thereby neutralizing the effects of this endotoxin. This therapy gradually gained acceptance as the amount of evidence increased from initial small clinical studies to a carefully conducted systematic review, and ultimately to the multicentered randomized clinical trial conducted in Italy, entitled the EUPHAS Study (Early Use of Polymyxin B Hemoperfusion in Abdominal Septic Shock). While the conclusions of this initial randomized controlled trial were in agreement with previous studies, it possessed some important limitations, including a slow accrual rate, enrolling only 64 patients between 2004 and 2007, inability to blind treating physicians, and a premature study termination based on the results of the scheduled interim analysis. These limitations resulted in a modest patient sample size, which may have overestimated the true magnitude of the clinical effect. Apart from Japan, Italy is the current primary user of polymyxin B-hemoperfusion in the treatment of sepsis, with about 600 cartridges being used per year. However, no structured collection of data has been attempted, resulting in the an opportunity to understand the effects of polymyxin B-hemoperfusion on a large, diverse sample size. In response, Italian investigators and users of this treatment have designed a new prospective multicentered, collaborative data collection study, entitled EUPHAS 2. The aim of the EUPHAS 2 project is to collect a large database regarding polymyxin B-hemoperfusion treatments in order to better evaluate the efficacy and biological significance of endotoxin removal in clinical practice. Additionally, this study aims to verify the reproducibility of the data currently available in the literature, evaluate the patient population chosen for treatment and identify subpopulations of patients who may benefit from this treatment more than others.

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