Continuous renal replacement therapy necessitates the use of anticoagulation. The anticoagulant of choice has traditionally been heparin. Emerging evidence has highlighted the deleterious effects of systemic heparin anticoagulation in the critically ill. Regional citrate anticoagulation has been used as an alternative in the setting of continuous renal replacement therapy. Our retrospective before-and-after cohort study aimed to ascertain if regional citrate anticoagulation is associated with any benefit in terms of circuit longevity, rates of complications, blood transfusion requirements and mortality, when introduced to a large general intensive care unit with a case mix of acute medical patients and acute and elective surgical patients. The switch to regional citrate anticoagulation for continuous renal replacement therapy in our intensive care unit has been associated with a dramatically longer circuit life, with major implications for cost savings in terms of reduced nursing workload. We hope to look at fiscal aspects of the change in protocol in greater depth.
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