Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Learning About Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT)

Main Content

Learning About Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT)

Blood flow to and from the kidneys, with detail of ureter, bladder, and urethra

What is CRRT?

Continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) is a type of dialysis. Dialysis does the work of your kidneys when you have a serious kidney injury (also known as acute renal failure).

You get CRRT for several days or weeks. It filters wastes, such as urea, from the blood. It also removes extra fluid from your body. It helps restore the right balance of chemicals in the blood.

You may stay in intensive care while you get CRRT.

Why is it used?

You may get CRRT if your kidneys aren't working the way they should and you need a slower, gentler type of dialysis.

CRRT may be used for kidney failure from an injury, an illness, or a reaction to medicine. Other organs such as the liver, heart, and lungs may not work as well either. Shock can cause this. So can sepsis, a serious reaction to an infection.

CRRT filters your blood over longer periods of time than other types of dialysis. It can also filter out more wastes and fluids than other types.

How is it done?

You will be connected to a CRRT machine to filter your blood.

Your doctor will place a tube (catheter) in a vein in your neck or groin. It will connect to the dialyzer on the CRRT machine. That's where waste products and extra fluid are removed.

Your blood is slowly pumped from your body into the dialyzer. Your filtered blood is then pumped back into your body.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.