Acute renal insufficiency after cardiopulmonary bypass can lead to a significant morbidity from fluid overload and electrolyte disturbance, impede pulmonary gas exchange, and postpone weaning from mechanical ventilation. The limitations placed on free water intake result in severe restriction of nutrition while diuretic therapy causes electrolyte imbalance. Artificial renal support either in the form of peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis may be complicated by sepsis and hemodynamic instability. We reviewed our experience with the use of continuous arteriovenous hemofiltration, an extracorporeal technique for removal of solutes, toxins, and water in critically ill patients with cardiac failure complicated by acute renal insufficiency and hemodynamic instability after cardiopulmonary bypass. Ten infants and children with renal insufficiency caused by low cardiac output had continuous arteriovenous hemofiltration instituted for indications including sepsis, volume overload, oliguria for more than 24 hours nonresponsive to diuretic therapy, and the need for hyperalimentation. All were supported by mechanical ventilation and receiving high-dose inotropic support. Arterial and venous vascular access was successfully obtained by cannulation of the femoral artery and vein in nine patients. Anticoagulation of the circuit was achieved with heparin infusion (6 to 20 μg/kg/hr) and monitored by measurement of activated clotting time. The continuous arteriovenous hemofiltration circuit was replaced if there was clot formation, or at 3 days after placement. Dialysis solution (Dianeal) 1.5% or 0.5% was infused as prefilter dilution. With the use of continuous arteriovenous hemofiltration, 20 to 100 m/hr of ultrafiltrate was removed, which allowed correction of hypervolemia, and caloric intake increased from 13.5 kcal/kg/day to 79.5 kcal/kg/day. Continuous arteriovenous hemofiltration was maintained between 5 hours and 8 days and was well tolerated in all patients. Serum urea and creatinine levels declined during continuous arteriovenous hemofiltration. We conclude that continuous arteriovenous hemofiltration is a safe and effective method for fluid and electrolyte homeostasis and that it thus allows hyperalimentation in infants and children after cardiac operations.