Hemoperfusion is a chemical process used to remove drugs or toxic substances from an individual’s blood by passing it through a column of charcoal or other adsorbent material.hemoperfusion

Hemoperfusion is often used as an effective method of drug removal from the blood stream in overdose cases.

  • blood is passed over an adsorbent substance in order to remove toxic substances in the blood
  • molecules or particles of a toxic substance are attracted to the surface of a solid absorbant material and adhere to it.
  • hemoperfusion may be refered to as an extracorporeal treatment due to the fact that the blood is processed outside the patient’s body.

Sorbant or toxic chemical attractant materials:

  • resins
  • activated charcoal
  • activated carbon


  • removal of nephrotoxic drugs (kidney damaging drugs) or poisons from the blood in emergency situations (such as drug overdoses)
  • removal of waste products from the blood in patients with impaired kidney function or kidney disease
  • used to provide supportive treatment before and after transplantation for patients in liver failure, functions in blood metabolic waste product removal.
  • Process:

    • A hemoperfusion system can be used with or without a hemodialysis machine.
    • the patient is made comfortable
    • two catheters are placed in the arm, one in an artery and one in a nearby vein.
    • the catheter in the artery is connected to tubing leading into the hemoperfusion system
    • the catheter in the vein is connected to tubing leading from the system through a pressure monitor.
    • The patient is given heparin  (to thin the blood and prevent clotting) at the beginning of the procedure and at 15–20-minute intervals throughout the hemoperfusion.
    • The patient’s blood pressure is also taken regularly.
    • A typical hemoperfusion treatment takes about three hours.
    • Hemoperfusion functions to pump the blood drawn through the arterial catheter into a column or cartridge containing the sorbent material (to attract and bind the toxic substance).
    •  As the blood passes over the carbon or resin particles in the column, the toxic molecules or particles are drawn to the surfaces of the sorbent particles and trapped within the column.
    • The blood flows out the other end of the column and is returned to the patient through the tubing attached to the venous catheter.
    • Hemoperfusion is able to clear toxins from a larger volume of blood than hemodialysis or other filtration methods; it can process over 300 mL of blood per minute.

    Hayano, Syunichi, Kawasaki, Chiyo, Nishi, Reiko, Otagiri, Masaki, and Uekihara, Souichi. 2000. Charcoal hemoperfusion in the treatment of phenytoin overdose. American journal of kidney diseases. 35 (2): 323-326.

    Hemoperfusion. retrived April 24, 2009 from http://www.surgeryencyclopedia.com/Fi-La/Hemoperfusion.html


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