The technique of continuous renal replacement therapy has found increasing applicability in the treatment of patients with renal failure. It has been well demonstrated in both animal and human experiments that many inflammatory mediators, such as interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor, can be cleared by hemofiltration. This has led to interest in using continuous renal replacement therapy as adjunctive therapy in sepsis. Studies have shown that convective clearance using higher ultrafiltration rates with the newer biocompatible membranes is a more effective method of clearing these cytokines from the circulation. There is also some evidence that this may improve outcomes in patients with the sepsis syndrome. (C) 2000 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Inc.