Although blood purification improves outcomes in animal studies of sepsis, results of clinical trials have been mixed. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials to determine the association between various blood purification techniques and all-cause mortality in humans with sepsis.
We searched for relevant studies in MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library database from January 1966 to May 2012.
Inclusion required a diagnosis of sepsis and comparison of blood purification techniques including hemofiltration, hemoperfusion, plasma exchange, or hemodialysis with no blood purification (control group).
Two authors independently selected studies and extracted data. Summary statistics, risk ratios, and CIs were calculated using random-effects modeling. Study quality was assessed using Jadad score, and publication bias was assessed using funnel plots and Egger’s statistic.
Overall, blood purification decreased mortality compared with no blood purification (35.7% vs 50.1%; risk ratio, 0.69 [95% CI, 0.56–0.84]; p < 0.001; 16 trials, n = 827). However, these results were driven mainly by hemoperfusion (risk ratio, 0.63 [95% CI, 0.50–0.80]; p < 0.001; 10 trials, n = 557) and plasma exchange (risk ratio, 0.63 [95% CI, 0.42–0.96]; p = 0.03; two trials, n = 128). Pooling of all trials of blood purification for treatment of sepsis was no longer associated with lower mortality (risk ratio, 0.89 [95% CI, 0.71–1.13]; p = 0.36; eight trials, n = 457) after excluding trials using polymyxin B hemoperfusion.
Blood purification techniques including hemoperfusion, plasma exchange, and hemofiltration with hemoperfusion were associated with lower mortality in patients with sepsis. These results were mainly influenced by studies using polymyxin B hemoperfusion from Japan.