K+ontrol rapidly and efficiently reduces potassium in donor blood during ex vivo circulation

George T. Harea, Marianne Thrailkill, Isabella Garcia, Brendan M. Beely, Daniel S. Wendorff, Teryn R. Roberts, Thomas D. Golobish, Maryann Gruda, Tim Kovacs, Tamaz Guliashvili, Phillip P. Chan, Ian J. Stewart, Kevin K. Chung, Teja Guda, Andriy I. Batchinsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Patients with kidney failure are at risk for lethal complications from hyperkalemia. Resuscitation, medications, and hemodialysis are used to mitigate increased potassium (K+) levels in circulating blood; however, these approaches may not always be readily available or effective, especially in a resource limited environment. We tested a sorbent cartridge (KC, K+ontrol CytoSorbents Medical Inc., Monmouth Junction, New Jersey) which contains a resin adsorber for K+. The objective of this study was to test the utility of KC in an ex vivo circulation system. We hypothesized that KC reduces K+ levels in extracorporeal circulation of donor swine whole blood infused with KCl. Methods: A six-hour circulation study was carried out using KC, a NxStage (NxStage Medical, Inc., Lawrence, MA) membrane, blood bag containing heparinized whole blood with KCl infusion, 3/16-inch ID tubing, a peristaltic pump, and flow sensors. The NxStage permeate line was connected back to the main circuit in the Control group (n = 6), creating a recirculation loop. For KC group (n = 6), KC was added to the recirculation loop, and a continuous infusion of KCl at 10 mEq/hour was administered for two hours. Blood samples were acquired at baseline and every hour for 6 h. Results: In the control group, K+ levels remained at ∼9 mmol/L; 9.1 ± 0.4 mmol/L at 6 h. In the KC group, significant decreases in K+ at hour 1 (4.3 ± 0.3 mmol/L) and were sustained for the experiment duration equilibrating at 4.6 ± 0.4 mmol/L after 6 h (p = 0.042). Main loop blood flow was maintained under 400 mL/min; recirculation loop flow varied between 60 and 70 mL/min in the control group and 45–55 mL/min in the KC group. Decreases in recirculation loop flow in KC group required 7% increase of pump RPM. Conclusions: During ex-vivo extracorporeal circulation using donor swine blood, KC removed approximately 50% of K+, normalizing circulating levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-141
Number of pages8
JournalPerfusion (United Kingdom)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Hyperkalemia
  • dialysis
  • extracorporeal circulation
  • potassium
  • sorbent


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