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Extracorporeal treatment of intoxicationsAnne-Corne´lie J.M. de Pont The purpose of this article is to provide the critical care Although intoxication is a common problem in adult and clinician with a comprehensive review of the indications for pediatric medicine, serious morbidity is unusual. In 2004, extracorporeal elimination of toxic substances, to only 3% of all toxic exposures reported to the Toxic summarize the different techniques and the intoxications for Exposure Surveillance System of the American Associ- which these techniques are suitable.
ation of Poison Centers were treated in an ICU and in only 0.05% extracorporeal treatment was needed Extracor- In the last year, several excellent reviews about toxicological poreal treatment, however, may be lifesaving in victims topics have been published. These reviews focused on intoxications in children, the approach of the patient with an mechanisms are impaired. This article reviews the charac- unknown overdose, management of intoxications with teristics of different extracorporeal techniques and sum- salicylates, b-blockers and calcium antagonists and liver marizes the intoxications for which they are suitable.
support systems. Important developments include the useof high-flux, high-efficiency membranes and albumin dialysis using the molecular adsorbent recirculating system The use of extracorporeal techniques to remove toxins is (MARS). This system offers possibilities for the removal of justified if there is an indication of severe toxicity protein-bound substances such as diltiazem, phenytoin and and if the total body elimination of the toxin can be increased by 30% or more by using an extracorporeal technique Whether extracorporeal removal is possible Although large randomized controlled trials are scarce in the depends on characteristics of the toxin itself and of the field of toxicology, the treatment of intoxications is elimination technique used As the majority of becoming more and more evidence based. This review reported toxic exposures occur in children of less than summarizes the current knowledge and recommendations 6 years old it is important to know which substances concerning the extracorporeal treatment of intoxications are lethal for children, even in low doses These and discusses new developments in the field, such as the use of high-flux, high-efficiency membranes and albumindialysis.
Techniques available for extracorporealremoval of toxins The extracorporeal techniques most frequently employed hemodialysis, hemofiltration, hemoperfusion, intoxication, for the removal of toxins are hemodialysis, continuous molecular adsorbent recirculating system (MARS).
Curr Opin Crit Care 13:668–673.
ß 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Adult Intensive Care Unit, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, During hemodialysis, toxins and other substances are cleared from the blood by diffusion across a semiperme- Correspondence to Anne-Corne´lie J.M. de Pont, Adult Intensive Care Unit, C3-327, able membrane down a concentration gradient from blood Academic Medical Center, Meibergdreef 9, NL-1105 AZ Amsterdam, into dialysate. In order to be removed by hemodialysis, the The NetherlandsTel: +31 20 5669111 ext 59229; fax: +31 20 5669568; toxic substance must be water soluble and must have a low molecular weight, low protein binding and a low volume of Current Opinion in Critical Care 2007, 13:668–673 distribution (During hemodialysis, the clearanceof a toxic substance depends on membrane surface area and type, as well as on blood and dialysate flow rates. The larger the membrane surface, the greater the amount oftoxin removed. Newer high-flux membranes can also ß 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins1070-5295 remove high-molecular weight substances. Increasingblood and dialysate flow rates can increase the concen-tration gradient between blood and dialysate, thus opti-mizing the rates of diffusion and elimination. The majordrawback of hemodialysis is the risk of rebound toxicity Copyright Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
Extracorporeal treatment of intoxications de Pont Table 3 Substances able to kill children at low doses (1) Ingested quantity associated with severe toxicity (2) Ingestion of a toxin with serious delayed effects (5) Clinical evidence of severe toxicity: hypotension, coma, metabolic acidosis, respiratory depression, dysrhythmias Table 2 Necessary properties for extracorporeal removal bythree different techniques Hemodialysis Hemofiltration Hemoperfusion During hemoperfusion, the blood passes through a cartridge containing a sorbent material able to adsorb the toxin. There are three types of sorbents: charcoal- Endogenous clearance <4 ml/min/kg <4 ml/min/kg based sorbents, synthetic resins and anion exchange resins.
In order to be removed by hemoperfusion, the toxic substance must have binding affinity to the sorbent inthe cartridge and a low volume of distribution ( after cessation of the treatment, due to redistribution of Charcoal efficiently removes molecules in the 1000– 1500 kDa range, but does not remove protein-bound mol-ecules Resins are more effective in the removal of protein-bound and lipid-soluble molecules. Despite their In continuous hemofiltration techniques such as continu- efficacy, the use of hemoperfusion cartridges has declined ous venovenous hemofiltration (CVVH) and continuous over the last 20 years, due to limitations of their indications venovenous hemodiafiltration (CVVHD), the blood and shelf life. Moreover, hemoperfusion is technically passes through large pore hollow fibres, allowing the more difficult to perform than hemodialysis, and convective removal of molecules up to 40 kDa. The lacks the possibility of correcting acid–base, fluid and advantages of continuous techniques are their applica- bility in hemodynamically unstable patients and theprolonged duration of therapy, minimizing the risk of a rebound effect The disadvantage of continuous tech- MARS is a blood purification system, aimed at removing niques is their lower clearance compared with hemodia- albumin-bound toxic molecules It consists of lysis. In postdilutional hemofiltration, the clearance is three serial extracorporeal circuits: a blood circuit, an equal to the ultrafiltrate flow rate, which is usually no albumin detoxification circuit and a hemodialysis circuit more than 4 l/h or 67 ml/min, whereas with hemodialysis a . The patient’s blood passes the blood com- clearance up to 500 ml/min can be achieved partment of a high-flux dialyzer, where albumin flows Figure 1 Molecular Adsorbent Recirculating System (MARS) circuit Reprinted with permission from Covic et al. Copyright Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
through the dialysate compartment in a countercurrent volume of 0.6–0.9 l/kg body weight and it is not protein fashion. Protein-bound and water soluble substances can bound, which makes it an ideal substance to be removed by enter the albumin circuit by means of diffusion. The hemodialysis. With hemodialysis, an extraction ratio of albumin circuit contains two filters, an activated charcoal 90% and a clearance ranging from 63 to 114 ml/min is filter which absorbs the toxins and an anion-exchange achieved, making it the treatment of choice for extracor- resin filter to cleanse the albumin. Finally, the albumin poreal lithium removal Hemodialysis is even more passes through the blood compartment of a second effective in removing lithium than the kidney itself, as dialyzer, where small molecules are filtered down a 70–80% of lithium filtered by the kidney is reabsorbed in concentration gradient to bicarbonate dialysate .
the proximal tubule. Hemodialysis should be started in Although the efficacy of MARS in the removal of cases of central nervous system abnormalities such as protein-bound drugs such as diltiazem, phenytoin and confusion, stupor, coma or seizures. A negative anion theophylline has been demonstrated in case reports, the gap and an elevated osmolar gap may be diagnostic clues use of MARS is limited by its availability, technical Although the serum lithium level is effectively lowered by hemodialysis, a rebound rise in serum levelsoccurs 6–8 h after cessation of the treatment, as lithium redistributes to the circulation from the interstitial space Therefore, hemodialysis should be continued until Due to the characteristics required for extracorporeal the serum lithium level remains below 1 mEq/l. In this removal, the number of substances suitable for this respect, continuous techniques such as CVVH and technique is limited. Drugs and toxins for which extra- CVVHD may be advantageous, as they couple a longer corporeal removal is indicated are summarized in running time to an acceptable clearance Depending on and will be discussed in alphabetical order. When one of the ultrafiltrate flow rate, clearances up to 67 ml/min can be these agents is suspected, consultation of a nephrologist reached by postdilutional hemofiltration The biguanide metformin is the most widely used oral Phenobarbital is a long-acting barbiturate, commonly used antidiabetic agent in the world, however it carries the as an anticonvulsant since 1912 It has a low volume of risk of metformin associated lactic acidosis (MALA), distribution, a slow intrinsic elimination and it binds which usually occurs in cases of overdose or renal failure.
readily to charcoal. Most patients with phenobarbital Although rare, MALA carries a mortality risk of 50% overdose can be managed by means of oral administration Metformin has a molecular weight of 166 Da, is of activated charcoal and urine alkalization Whether not protein bound and is excreted by the kidney by extracorporeal treatment for barbiturate overdose is indi- means of glomerular filtration and tubular secretion. Its cated depends on the severity of the toxicity and the renal clearance therefore exceeds the creatinine clear- response to therapy, rather than on the serum level.
ance and ranges from 552 to 642 ml/min, reaching a Extracorporeal removal should be considered in cases of plasma elimination half life of 1.5 – 4.7 h Metformin severe hypotension, respiratory depression or deep and intoxication itself, however, can induce acute renal prolonged coma. Until recently, hemoperfusion was the failure, which aggravates toxicity By means of treatment of choice With the use of high-flux, high- hemodialysis or hemofiltration, metformin can be efficiency membranes, however, similar or even better removed with clearances up to 170 ml/min Extra- elimination can be obtained with hemodialysis corporeal treatment should be performed in cases ofrefractory lactic acidosis or impaired renal function Lithium is widely used in the treatment of bipolar affectivedisorders. It has a molecular weight of 74 Da, a distribution SalicylatesAt therapeutic levels, salicylates have over 90% protein Table 4 Substances for which extracorporeal treatment may be binding, which decreases to 50–75% at toxic levels, due to saturation. Salicylates are metabolized in the liver and eliminated by the kidney. The elimination half life is dosedependent, ranging from 2 h at a low dose to 30 h at a high dose. Treatment with hemodialysis should be started when the serum level exceeds 700 mg/l or when the clinical situation deteriorates (altered mental status, respiratory failure, pulmonary edema, severe acid–base disturbances, renal failure) Although hemoperfusion is more Copyright Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
Extracorporeal treatment of intoxications de Pont recommended, since it more rapidly corrects metabolic ous half life of formic acid was 205 Æ 25 min, whereas the hemodialysis half life was 185 Æ 63 min Theophylline is more than 50% protein bound and under Isopropanol is a colorless liquid with a bitter taste, used in normal conditions metabolized by the p450 enzyme in the manufacturing of acetone and glycerin. The minimal the liver. At therapeutic levels its elimination obeys first- lethal dose for adults is approximately 100 ml. Unlike order kinetics, while limitation of the enzyme capacity ethylene glycol and methanol, most of the toxic effects results in zero order kinetics at higher concentrations of isopropanol are due to the parent compound itself.
Since theophylline binds readily to charcoal, hemo- Isopropanol is metabolized to acetone by alcohol dehydro- perfusion is the treatment of choice In acute toxicity, genase. The clinical signs of intoxication occur within it should be started at serum levels greater than 90 mg/ml, 1 h of ingestion and include gastrointestinal symptoms, and in chronic intoxication at levels greater than 40 mg/ml confusion, stupor and coma. Severe intoxications may in the presence of signs of severe toxicity. When hemo- present with hypotension due to cardiac depression and perfusion is not available, hemofiltration is also effective.
vasodilatation Hypotension is the strongest predictor By means of hemofiltration, the half life of theophylline of mortality. Inhibition of alcohol dehydrogenase is could be reduced from 5 days to 6 h in a case of severe not indicated, as acetone is less toxic than isopropanol.
theophylline poisoning By means of MARS, even a Hemodialysis is indicated for patients with an isopropanol level greater than 4 g/l and significant central nervoussystem depression, renal failure or hypotension although this indication has been debated The toxic alcohols include ethylene glycol, methanoland isopropanol.
Valproic acidValproic acid is a 144 Da branched chain carboxylic acid primarily metabolized in the liver. At therapeutic levels it Ethylene glycol is a compound used in antifreeze and is 90% protein bound, but protein binding decreases at windshield washer solutions. It is converted by alcohol toxic serum levels due to saturation. Valproic acid has a dehydrogenase to glycolate, which causes renal failure small volume of distribution (0.1–0.5 l/kg) and a plasma and pulmonary and cerebral edema. Therefore, the half life of 6–16 h Clinical manifestations of toxicity mainstay of the treatment of ethylene glycol poisoning vary from mild confusion and lethargy to coma and death.
is the inhibition of alcohol dehydrogenase by means of In addition to neurological symptoms, valproate can cause ethanol or fomepizole Hemodialysis should be hypothermia, hypotension, tachycardia, gastrointestinal started when signs and symptoms of severe toxicity are disturbances and hepatotoxicity as well as hypernatremia, present (deteriorating vital signs, severe metabolic hyperosmolarity, hypocalcemia and metabolic acidosis.
acidosis, acute kidney injury, pulmonary or cerebral Valproic acid was demonstrated to be eliminated by edema) or when the serum level exceeds 0.5 g/l hemodialysis alone and in combination with hemoperfu- Refractory serum hyperosmolality and a glycolic acid sion. With these techniques half lives of 2–4 h could be level greater than 10 mmol/l have also been described reached Extracorporeal treatment is justified in as indications Hemodialysis effectively clears cases of refractory hemodynamic instability or metabolic glycolate with an elimination half life of 155 Æ 474 min compared with a spontaneous elimination half life of625 Æ 474 min Substances for which extracorporeal removalmay be possible For some drugs and toxins extracorporeal removal is Under physiological circumstances, methanol is metab- possible, but the effect on outcome is uncertain.
olized by alcohol dehydrogenase to formaldehyde, and byaldehyde dehydrogenase to formic acid, which is respon- sible for the acidosis and toxic manifestations. Therefore, Carbamazepine is an iminostilbene derivative anticonvul- the primary step in the treatment of methanol intoxication sant. It has a molecular weight of 236 Da, is 80–85% is inhibition of alcohol dehydrogenase with ethanol or protein bound and has a target serum level of 4–12 mg/l.
fomepizole The usual criteria for hemodialysis Under normal circumstances, it is metabolized in the liver include severe acidosis, visual impairment, renal failure, and eliminated by the kidney, with an elimination half life electrolyte disturbances or a plasma methanol concen- of 2–6 days. Acute overdose can result in cardiovascular tration greater than 0.5 g/l Hemodialysis, however, and neurologic impairment with possible fatal out- does not substantially enhance the endogenous clearance come Although supportive care is usually sufficient of formate: in a prospective multicenter trial the endogen- extracorporeal removal by either hemoperfusion or Copyright Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
hemodialysis may be indicated in patients with unstable cardiac status, status epilepticus or refractory bowel hypo- The treatment of intoxication with an extracorporeal tech- motility A recent article demonstrated that nique is justified if there are signs of severe toxicity and if both techniques are equally effective, reaching a half life of elimination of the toxin can be increased by 30% or more using an extracorporeal technique. Hemodialysis is mostfrequently indicated and the use of high-flux, high-effi- ciency membranes is recommended for the removal of Calcium blocker overdose can result in marked and substances with a higher molecular weight. Continuous sustained hypotension with a mortality rate as high as techniques are preferable in hemodynamically unstable 10% Diltiazem is a calcium channel blocker which patients and in cases of toxins with rapid redistribution.
is 80% protein bound at therapeutic levels and has a Hemoperfusion is infrequently used because of its limited distribution volume of 5 l/kg. Therefore, it is not suit- indications and technical difficulties. For some highly able for hemodialysis or hemofiltration Recently, protein bound substances such as diltiazem, phenytoin however, the effective removal of diltiazem from the and theophylline, albumin dialysis may play a role.
circulation by means of albumin dialysis (MARS) wasdescribed, reaching a half life of approximately 16 h Papers of particular interest, published within the annual period of review, havebeen highlighted as: Phenytoin is one of the most commonly used antiepi- Additional references related to this topic can also be found in the Current leptic drugs. It is 90% albumin bound, metabolized in the World Literature section in this issue (p. 753).
liver and excreted by the kidney. Its median elimination Watson WA, Litovitz TL, Rodgers GC, et al. 2004 annual report of the half life is 24 h, ranging from 7 to 42 h. It has a narrow American Association of Poison Control Centers Toxic Exposure SurveillanceSystem. Am J Emerg Med 2005; 23:589–666.
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