Reuse Dialyzers and Single Use Dialyzers:What Every Patient Should Know


Pikes Peak Nephrology Associates

Posted on

Jan 13, 2011


Colorado - Colorado Springs

Dialysis is the process of filtering waste from a patients body when the kidneys no longer function. A dialyzer, also considered an artificial kidney, is the tool that helps filter waste from a patients blood. When dialysis providers use the same dialyzer multiple times on the same patient, the process is called reuse. Reuse is considered a controversial practice in nephrology and many providers choose single use dialyzers for their patients.
Dialyzer reprocessing, when done properly, has shown minimal risk to patients mortality and morbidity. However, many nephrologists factor in human error which can affect the process of reuse and expose patients to potential infections and cross-contamination.
Exposure to infections is one of the most prominent risks facing dialysis patients. Care must be taken in all aspects of treatment to ensure that equipment has been properly disinfected, staff and patients adhere to rigorous hygiene standards, and water systems are properly maintained and monitored. Reuse of dialyzers, is considered a cost effective tool, but many physicians feel that exposing patients to possible contamination is a risk not worth taking.
Providers that administer reuse must adhere to the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) guidelines and follow a series of steps before reusing a dialyzer on a patient. Many nephrologists feel the amount of time needed to safely handle reuse dialyzers takes away needed time with the patient.
In addition, research shows that a number of providers who once practiced reuse in 2000 switched to single use dialyzers by 2005. The study conducted by Tufts University in 2007, showed that 40 percent of providers between 2000 and 2005 switched from re-use to single use dialyzers.
Regardless of ones stance on reuse, nephrologists agree that patient education is imperative and providers must inform their patients on all aspects of dialysis.
Editor's Note: This Article was written by Dr. Jesse Flaxenberg of Pikes Peak Nephrology and submitted by Liberty Dialysis. For more information call 877-684-5008

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