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Kidney Week

Abstract: SA-PO1026

Heparin-Free Dialysis: A Phase 2 Pilot Study Using Asymmetric Cellulose Triacetate (ATA) Dialyzers

Session Information

Category: Dialysis

  • 701 Dialysis: Hemodialysis and Frequent Dialysis


  • Meijers, Björn Ki, UZ Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Bammens, Bert, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Vusser, Katrien De, UZ Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Van Craenenbroeck, Amaryllis H., University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Claes, Kathleen, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium
  • Evenepoel, Pieter, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Group or Team Name

  • UZ Leuven

Not all dialysis patients tolerate heparin anticoagulation. Heparin should be avoided in patients at high risk of bleeding. Strategies include saline infusion, citrate-containing dialysate, regional citrate anticoagulation and heparin-coated membranes. We recently studied the combination of a heparin-coated membrane and citrate-containing dialysate, with a success rate of 94% . Although this combination resulted in low rates of clotting, heparin-coated membranes are not ubiquitously available. The quest for easy to perform, safe and affordable heparin-free dialysis is on. Asymmetric cellulose triacetate (ATA) dialyzers have a low degree of platelet contact activation and might be an alternative to heparin-coated dialyzers.


We performed a phase II pilot study in maintenance dialysis patients. The ‘Strategies for Asymmetrical Triacetate dialyzer heparin-Free Effective hemodialysis (SAFE study)’ was a two-arm open-label cross-over study. In Arm 1, patients were dialyzed using a 1.9 m2 ATA membrane (Solacea™-19H, Nipro Corp., Japan) in combination with citrate (1 mM) containing dialysate. In Arm 2, patients were dialyzed with the same 1.9 m2 ATA membrane, in combination with high volume predilution hemodiafiltration. The primary endpoint was the success rate to complete 4 hours of hemodialysis without preterm clotting.


We scheduled 240 dialysis sessions (120 per arm) in twenty patients. Ten patients were randomized to start in Arm 1, the others to Arm 2. All patients crossed to the other arm halfway the study. 232 (96.7%) study treatments were delivered. Overall, 23 clotting events occurred, 7 in Arm 1 and 16 in Arm 2. Success rate in Arm 1 (ATA + citrate containing dialysate) was 90.8 / 94.0 % (intention to treat/ as treated). Success rate in Arm 2 (ATA + predilution HDF) was 83.3 / 86.2 % (intention to treat/ as treated). Therapy survival was borderline significantly better in Arm 1(Mantel-Cox log rank P = 0.05).


Asymmetric cellulose triacetate (ATA) dialyzers have a low clotting propensity. In combination with citrate-containing dialysate, asymmetric cellulose triacetate (ATA) may be a suitable alternative to heparin-coated membranes for systemic heparin-free hemodialysis.


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