Anticoagulation practices for continuous renal replacement therapy: a survey of physicians from the United States

David Boldt, Laurence Busse, Lakhmir S. Chawla, Alexander H. Flannery, Ashish Khanna, Javier A. Neyra, Pamela Palmer, James Wilson, Lenar Yessayan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: During continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT), anticoagulants are recommended for patients at low risk of bleeding and not already receiving systemic anticoagulants. Current anticoagulants used in CRRT in the US are systemic heparins or regional citrate. To better understand use of anticoagulants for CRRT in the US, we surveyed nephrologists and critical care medicine (CCM) specialists. Methods: The survey contained 30 questions. Respondents were board certified and worked in intensive care units of academic medical centers or community hospitals. Results: 150 physicians (70 nephrologists and 80 CCM) completed the survey. Mean number of CRRT machines in use increased ∼30% from the pre-pandemic era to 2022. Unfractionated heparin was the most used anticoagulant (43% of estimated patients) followed by citrate (28%). Respondents reported 29% of patients received no anticoagulant. Risk of hypocalcemia (52%) and citrate safety (42%) were the predominant reasons given for using no anticoagulant instead of citrate in heparin-intolerant patients. 84% said filter clogging was a problem when no anticoagulant was used, and almost 25% said increased transfusions were necessary. Respondents using heparin (n = 131) considered it inexpensive and easily obtainable, although of moderate safety, citing concerns of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia and bleeding. Anticoagulant citrate dextrose solution was the most used citrate. Respondents estimated that 37% of patients receiving citrate develop hypocalcemia and 17% citrate lock. Conclusions: Given the increased use of CRRT and the lack of approved, safe, and effective anticoagulant choices for CRRT in the US, effective use of current and other anticoagulant options needs to be evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2290932
JournalRenal Failure
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Acute kidney failure
  • acute kidney injury
  • anticoagulant
  • citrate
  • heparin
  • renal dialysis
  • renal replacement Therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Nephrology


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