The in vivo functional characteristics of continuous arteriovenous hemofiltration (CAVH) were studied in 21 intensive-care patients with acute renal failure. FH-66 hemofilters were applied. The relationships between prefilter blood pressure (BP), blood flow (QB) and filtration rate (QF) were evaluated by stepwise clamping of the arterial access and simultaneous measurements of these parameters. The correlations between BP and QB, and between QB and QF, were linear (p < 0.001). The total pressure drop across the extracorporeal circuit was 90 ± 12 mmHg with Scribner shunt and 70 ± 13 mmHg with femoral catheters as vascular access. The relative pressure drops across arterial access, hemofilter and venous access for Scribner shunt and for femoral catheter were 30%, 43% and 27% and 12%, 74% and 14%, respectively. At a given BP, QB was lower and transmembrane filtration pressure (TMP) higher in CAVH with Scribner shunt. QB was 102 ± 38 ml/min; QF was 20 ± 7 ml/min. The effects of hemofilter geometry and membrane material on functional parameters of CAVH were evaluated by applying four hemofilters (Amicon D-20 HP, D-30 HP, Gambro FH-66, Fresenius AV-400) consecutively in the same patient. The filters were different with respect to hollow fiber length, its internal diameter, number of fibers and membrane material. BP, hematocrit (Hct) and plasma protein remained constant during measurements. QB increased with decreasing filter resistance. QF did not increase with increasing QB. QF was also not closely related to membrane surface area. The hydraulic permeability (Lp) had a major impact on QF. The Lp of the polysulfone membranes was between 47 and 35% lower than that of polyamide membranes. Hence, at given values of TMP and surface area, polyamide filters may have a higher QF. Filtration pressure dysequilibrium was always present irrespective of filter geometry, membrane material, BP, Hct and plasma protein.

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