Acute renal failure is a common complication in intensive care medicine. While the incidence of acute renal failure increases, mortality still remains at a high level. In Europe continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) has become the standard treatment for acute renal failure. Continuous renal replacement therapy has the advantage of achieving a more stable haemodynamic situation and an easier volume management compared to intermittent haemodialysis (IHD). Until now there has been no evidence to suggest that either classical IHD or CRRT is superior in reducing mortality. Using CRRT in patients with acute renal failure, an ultrafiltration rate adjusted to the patient's bodyweight at 35 ml/kg x h is recommended. A new approach in renal replacement therapy is the slow extended daily dialysis (SLEDD), which combines the advantages of CRRT and IHD. First results are promising, but further investigations are needed to show whether outcome can be improved. A final evidence-based recommendation on the dosing of CRRT or a definitive answer to the question whether daily IHD is better than CRRT, can probably only be possible after two running multicentre studies, the VA/NIH Acute Renal Failure Trial Network (ATN) study and the Augmented Versus Normal Renal Replacement Therapy in Severe Acute Renal Failure Study (ANZICS 2005) Australia and New Zealand Intensive Care Group.
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