12 August 2019
Hemodynamic instability related to renal replacement therapy (HIRRT) is a frequent complication of all renal replacement therapy (RRT) modalities commonly used in the intensive care unit. HIRRT is associated with increased mortality and may impair kidney recovery. Our current understanding of the physiologic basis for HIRRT comes primarily from studies of end-stage kidney disease patients on maintenance hemodialysis in whom HIRRT is referred to as ‘intradialytic hypotension’. Nonetheless, there are many studies that provide additional insights into the underlying mechanisms for HIRRT specifically in critically ill patients. In particular, recent evidence challenges the notion that HIRRT is almost entirely related to excessive ultrafiltration. Although excessive ultrafiltration is a key mechanism, multiple other RRT-related mechanisms may precipitate HIRRT and this could have implications for how HIRRT should be managed (e.g., the appropriate response might not always be to reduce ultrafiltration, particularly in the context of significant fluid overload). This review briefly summarizes the incidence and adverse effects of HIRRT and reviews what is currently known regarding the mechanisms underpinning it. This includes consideration of the evidence that exists for various RRT-related interventions to prevent or limit HIRRT. An enhanced understanding of the mechanisms that underlie HIRRT, beyond just excessive ultrafiltration, may lead to more effective RRT-related interventions to mitigate its occurrence and consequences.