Circulating inflammatory mediators spilling into the circulation from sites of active inflammation are considered the source of remote tissue injury and associated organ dysfunction in sepsis. Hemofiltration has been proposed as a therapy for sepsis based on its ability to remove circulating inflammatory mediators by sieving or by adsorption, or both. Designing devices and methods for sepsis therapy will require optimization of these two mechanisms. In the present issue of Critical Care Forum, Kellum and Dishart report the relative effects of sieving and adsorption on plasma IL-6 following cecal ligation and puncture in rats. The authors conclude that hemoadsorption is the main mechanism of removal, and discuss some possible implications for filter design but hemoadsorption is well dependant on hemofiltration (the so-called hemofiltration filter adsorption/synergistic effect). It is important to recognize the limitations of conventional systems; Kellum and Dishart have extended our knowledge of hemofiltration filter adsorption, which is quite different from conventional hemoadsorption. If sepsis is a manifestation of a nonlinear dynamic control system out of control, then filtration at modest doses with a large pore filter may succeed as well as high-volume hemofiltration with a conventional cut-off filter. In the present paper, we will explore the strengths and the weaknesses of the 'Kellum and Dishart' study and discussing their findings in the light of the current available literature.