Single-Use versus Reusable Dialyzers: The Known Unknowns
Thursday, January 31, 2013 | By Scott | 3 Comments
Ashish Upadhyay, Marie Anne Sosa, Bertrand L. Jaber
The practice of reusing dialyzers has been widespread in the United States for decades, with single use showing signs of resurgence in recent years. Reprocessing of dialyzers has traditionally been acknowledged to improve blood–membrane biocompatibility and prevent first-use syndromes. These proposed advantages of reuse have been offset by the introduction of more biocompatible membranes and favorable sterilization techniques. Moreover, reuse is associated with increased health hazard from germicide exposure and disposal. Some observational studies have also pointed to an increased mortality risk with dialyzer reuse, and the potential for legal liability is another concern. The desire to save cost is the major driving force behind the continued practice of dialyzer reuse in the United States. It is imperative that future research focus on the environmental consequences of dialysis, including the need for more optimal management of disinfectant-related waste with reuse, and solid waste with single use. The dialysis community has a responsibility to explore ways to mitigate environmental consequences before single-use and a more frequent dialysis regimen becomes a standard practice in the United States.
Dialyzer reuse has been practiced in the United States for decades but remains a topic of ongoing controversy.