Continuous Venovenous Hemofiltration: An Alternative to Continuous Arteriovenous Hemofiltration and Hemodiafiltration in Acute Renal Failure

William L. Macias, Bruce A. Mueller, Sheila Kelly Scarim, Merryn Robinson, David W. Rudy

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83 Scopus citations


Continuous venovenous hemofitration (CVVH) has been used as an alternative to continuous arteriovenous hemofiltration (CAVH) and hemodiafiltration (CAVHD) in the management of critically ill patients with acute renal failure. This report describes our experience with the first 25 patients treated with CVVH at our institution. Vascular access was obtained through a single dual-lumen venous catheter. A blood pump was used to provide ultrafiltration pressure. An ultrafiltrate pump was incorporated to ensure predictable ultrafiltrate production rates. Safety features in the extracorporeal circuit included a venous drip chamber with bubble detector and an in-line pressure monitor. CVVH was initiated by a nephrologist and dialysis nurse and was maintained by the intensive care unit (ICU) nursing staff. Fifteen females and 10 males received CVVH therapy for a total of 193.5 days (average, 7.7 ± 10.3 days; range, 0.5 to 48 days). Four of the 25 patients (16%) survived and were discharged from the hospital. Four additional patients (16%) survived the acute phase of their illness, but died from complications of their primary disease before discharge from the hospital. The mean weight change during CVVH was -7.9 ± 7.0 kg (range, -26.5 to +2.9 kg). Metabolic waste products and electrolytes were adequately controlled by CVVH in all but one hypercatabolic patient. The mean heparin dose required was 6.5 ± 4.2 U/kg/h and was adjusted to prevent filter clotting rather than to achieve a predetermined activated partial thromboplastin time (PTT). The median PTT was 35.8 seconds (range, 22.0 to 100; control, 19.5 to 29.5 seconds). Four episodes of volume-responsive hypotension occurred during the 193.5 treatment days. Only one patient experienced a hemorrhagic complication during CVVH. No patient experienced a complication related to vascular access. Twelve of 111 total hemofilters were changed because of clot formation. CVVH was well tolerated by patients and managed efficiently by the ICU nursing staff. The incidence of hemorrhagic and vascular access complications in our patients was substantially less than those rates published for CAVH and CAVHD. This low complication rate, together with adequate control of metabolic waste products, suggests that CVVH may be the preferred method of continuous renal replacement therapy in selected acutely ill patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-458
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991


  • Continuous venovenous hemofiltration
  • acute renal failure.
  • continuous arteriovenous hemodiafiltration
  • continuous arteriovenous hemofiltration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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