The implications of water quality in hemodialysis

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Journal: Semin Dial 2003/11/25
Published: 2003
Authors: Hoenich, N. A.;Levin, R.
Address: School of Clinical Medical Sciences, Medical School, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. Nicholas.hoenich@ncl.ac.uk

Water used in dialysis requires additional treatment to minimize patient exposure to potential contaminants that may be present in drinking water. Although standards for the chemical purity of water are in existence and have eliminated many of the problems seen in renal units in the 1970s, some problems remain, and the importance of newer contaminants arising from changes in water treatment at the municipal level are being recognized. Despite this, recent surveys have indicated considerable shortcomings in compliance with chemical standards. The water quality used in the preparation of dialysis fluid also requires minimal bacterial content. Staff working in renal units are frequently unaware of the level of microbiologic contamination in their dialysis fluid arising from the presence of biofilm in the dialysis machines and the water distribution network. Bacterial fragments generated by such biofilms are able to cross the dialysis membrane and stimulate an inflammatory response in the patient. Such inflammation has been implicated in the mortality and morbidity associated with dialysis. The desire to improve treatment outcomes has led to the application of more stringent standards for the microbiologic purity of dialysis fluid and to the introduction of ultraclean dialysis fluid into clinical practice.

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