Pediatric Continuous Renal Replacement (CRRT)
A common complication among pediatric ICU patients is acute renal failure, a condition in which the kidneys suddenly stop working. When the kidneys aren’t working correctly, the body becomes unable to filter harmful waste products and excess fluids and electrolytes from the blood.
Continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) is a procedure that does the job that the kidneys normally do, which allows the kidneys time to rest. It’s a lot like dialysis, but it’s done over a longer period of time. CRRT is used for patients who are critically ill because critically ill patients may not be able to easily tolerate traditional dialysis, due to significant drops in blood pressure.
The purpose of CRRT is to
- Remove waste, salt and extra water from the body
- Regulate the levels of certain electrolytes in the blood (such as potassium and sodium)
- Help to control blood pressure
The CRRT procedure
Prior to CRRT, your child’s doctor will insert a catheter, which is much like an IV line except larger, into a large vein. The catheter is used to pump blood out of the body and into a machine (essentially an artificial kidney) that filters the blood. The filtered blood is then pumped back into the body.