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Blood Purification and Mortality in Sepsis: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials*

Zhou, Feihu MD, PhD1,2; Peng, Zhiyong MD, PhD1; Murugan, Raghavan MD, MS, FRCP1; Kellum, John A. MD, MCCM1

doi: 10.1097/CCM.0b013e31828cf412
Review Article

Objectives: 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.

Data Sources: We searched for relevant studies in MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library database from January 1966 to May 2012.

Study Selection: 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).

Data Extraction: 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.

Data Synthesis: 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.

Conclusions: 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.

1Department of Critical Care Medicine, The Clinical Research, Investigation, and Systems Modeling of Acute illness (CRISMA) Center, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA.

2Department of Critical Care Medicine, Chinese PLA general hospital, Beijing, People’s Republic of China.

* See also p. 2244.

Supported, in part, by a grant award from the National Institute of Health’s National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (R01HL080926) and a career development award from the National Center for Research Resources (2KL2RR024154-06). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NHLBI, NCRR, or the NIH.

Dr. Murugan received grant support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (career development award). Dr. Kellum consulted for Gambro, Cytosorbents, and Baxter; received grant support from Gambro, Cytosorbents, and Baxter; and received support for article research from the NIH. The remaining authors have disclosed that they do not have any potential conflicts of interest.

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© 2013 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins