Endotoxaemia is thought to occur in cardiac surgery using extracorporeal circulation (ECC) and a positive correlation has been proposed between the magnitude of endotoxaemia and risk for postoperative complications. We studied the effects of a new endotoxin adsorber device (Alteco(R) LPS adsorber) in patients undergoing cardiac surgery with ECC, with special reference to safety and ease of use. Fifteen patients undergoing coronary artery bypass and/or valvular surgery were studied. In 9 patients, the LPS Adsorber was included in the bypass circuit between the arterial filter and the venous reservoir. Flow through the adsorber was started when the aorta was clamped and stopped at the end of perfusion. Flow rate was kept at 150 ml/min. Six patients served as controls with no adsorber in the circuit. Samples were taken for analysis of endotoxin, TNFalpha, IL-1ss and IL-6 as well as complement factors C3, C4 and C1q. Whole blood coagulation status was evaluated using thromboelastograpy (TEG) and platelet count. No adverse events were encountered when the adsorber was used in the circuit. Blood flow through the device was easily monitored and kept at the desired level. Platelet count decreased in both groups during surgery. TEG data revealed a decrease in whole blood clot strength in the control group while it was preserved in the adsorber group. Endotoxin was detected in only 2 patients and IL-1ss in 4 patients. IL-6 decreased in both groups whereas no change in TNF concentrations was found. C3 fell in both groups, but no changes wer found in C4 and C1q. The Alteco(R) LPS adsorber can be used safely and is easy to handle in the bypass circuit. No complications related to the use of the adsorber were noted. The intended effects of the adsorber, i.e. removal of endotoxin from the blood stream could not be evaluated in this study, presumably due to the small number of patients and the relatively short perfusion times.