The serum levels of proinflammatory cytokines were investigated in three patients with severe burn injuries complicated by sepsis and pulmonary edema, who were treated with continuous hemofiltration (CHF) using a polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) membrane. All patients had suffered burn injuries to more than 30% of their total body surface area (TBSA) and had burn indexes of 20 or more. Both interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α were detectable in one patient, while the serum IL-6 levels were elevated in the remaining two patients. The serum cytokines decreased 24 h after the initiation of CHF. Determinations of IL-6 in inflow and outflow blood samples as well as in the filtration fluid revealed that IL-6 was ultrafiltrated and/or adsorbed by the filter. Two of the three patients did not survive. Nevertheless, the results of this study indicate that since burn injuries are frequently associated with hypercytokinemia, the removal of cytokines by CHF with a PMMA membrane may be effective in the management of severe burn injuries.
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