Journal Article

<i>In vitro</i> study of r-hirudin permeability through membranes of different haemodialysers

Elke Bucha, Reiner Kreml and Goetz Nowak

in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

Published on behalf of European Renal Association - European Dialysis and Transplant Assoc

Volume 14, issue 12, pages 2922-2926
Published in print December 1999 | ISSN: 0931-0509
Published online December 1999 | e-ISSN: 1460-2385 | DOI:
In vitro study of r-hirudin permeability through membranes of different haemodialysers

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Background. After introducing the specific thrombin inhibitor recombinant hirudin (r-hirudin) into clinical practice in cases of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT, type II) the possibility of its use as an anticoagulant during haemodialysis treatment in HIT II patients is being discussed more frequently. On the one hand, the efficient, safe and routine use of r-hirudin during haemodialyses, including the maintenance of a therapeutic blood level, presupposes that no r-hirudin will leave the circulation by passing through the dialyser membrane. On the other hand, it is important to have dialysers whose permeability to r-hirudin allows its efficient removal from the human body because, to date, no antidote is commercially available in cases of dangerously high blood concentrations of r-hirudin.

Methods. An in vitro circulation model was used to study the r-hirudin permeability of some low- and high-flux dialysers. As r-hirudin-containing vehicles, both albumin-containing saline solution and bovine blood were circulated in the blood space of the system for 2 h. Transmembrane r-hirudin passage was tested by measuring r-hirudin concentration both in the blood and dialysate space fluids using the ecarin clotting time (ECT).

Results. Low-flux dialysers with membranes made from polysulfone or regenerated cellulose proved to be almost impermeable to r-hirudin. In contrast, other low-flux membranes were partly permeable to r-hirudin (e.g. Hemophan) or even almost completely permeable (e.g. cellulose acetate). All high-flux dialysers tested were permeable to r-hirudin.

Conclusions. Only low-flux dialysers with polysulfone or regenerated cellulose membranes proved to be suitable for r-hirudin use in routine haemodialysis therapy. Other low-flux, and all high-flux, capillaries are permeable to r-hirudin and offer the possibility of lowering toxic r-hirudin concentrations after overdosing.

Keywords: haemodialysis; membrane permeability; r-hirudin

Journal Article.  2619 words. 

Subjects: Nephrology

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