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G Ital Nefrol. 2012 Jan-Feb;29(1):14-9.

[Regional citrate anticoagulation: towards a first-choice treatment].

[Article in Italian]

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Universita' di Roma, Roma, Italy.


Continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) is the most widely used technique for the treatment of severe acute kidney injury in the critically ill. The need for prolonged anticoagulation is the most important drawback of CRRT and clinically important bleeding significantly increases the risk of death. Therefore, alternative anticoagulation methods should be more widely adopted. Among the potential alternatives to systemic heparin anticoagulation, regional citrate anticoagulation (RCA) is the most promising. By reducing ionized calcium inside the extracorporeal circuit, citrate is able to block the coagulation cascade at different levels. Compared with unfractionated heparin, several studies reported better filter survival times and a marked reduction of transfusion rates with RCA. Despite the positive reports about the efficacy and safety of RCA, the use of this alternative method of anticoagulation appears to be relatively limited. Desirable future improvements in RCA should be focused on simplifying protocols, minimizing the need for calcium and magnesium supplementation, increasing the flexibility of buffer balance, and introducing customized dialysis systems able to deliver automated RCA. In particular, safe protocols with automated delivery of citrate and calcium can allow easy parameter settings that can be adapted to a wide range of clinical situations, facilitating the wider use of RCA in the coming years.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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