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Scharf, Christina; Schroeder, Ines; Paal, Michael; Winkels, Martin; Irlbeck, Michael; Zoller, Michael; Liebchen, Uwe (2021): Can the cytokine adsorber CytoSorb® help to mitigate cytokine storm and reduce mortality in critically ill patients? A propensity score matching analysis. In: Annals of intensive care, Vol. 11, 115
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BACKGROUND A cytokine storm is life threatening for critically ill patients and is mainly caused by sepsis or severe trauma. In combination with supportive therapy, the cytokine adsorber Cytosorb® (CS) is increasingly used for the treatment of cytokine storm. However, it is questionable whether its use is actually beneficial in these patients. METHODS Patients with an interleukin-6 (IL-6) > 10,000~pg/ml were retrospectively included between October 2014 and May 2020 and were divided into two groups (group 1: CS therapy; group 2: no CS therapy). Inclusion criteria were a regularly measured IL-6 and, for patients allocated to group 1, CS therapy for at least 90~min. A propensity score (PS) matching analysis with significant baseline differences as predictors (Simplified Acute Physiology Score (SAPS) II, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, renal replacement therapy, IL-6, lactate and norepinephrine demand) was performed to compare both groups (adjustment tolerance: < 0.05; standardization tolerance: < 10%). U-test and Fisher's-test were used for independent variables and the Wilcoxon test was used for dependent variables. RESULTS In total, 143 patients were included in the initial evaluation (group 1: 38; group 2: 105). Nineteen comparable pairings could be formed (mean initial IL-6: 58,385 vs. 59,812~pg/ml; mean SAPS II: 77 vs. 75). There was a significant reduction in IL-6 in patients with (p < 0.001) and without CS treatment (p = 0.005). However, there was no significant difference (p = 0.708) in the median relative reduction in both groups (89% vs. 80%). Furthermore, there was no significant difference in the relative change in C-reactive protein, lactate, or norepinephrine demand in either group and the in-hospital mortality was similar between groups (73.7%). CONCLUSION Our study showed no difference in IL-6 reduction, hemodynamic stabilization, or mortality in patients with Cytosorb® treatment compared to a matched patient population.