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Quality of water used for haemodialysis: bacteriological and chemical parameters

You are viewing information about the paper Quality of water used for haemodialysis: bacteriological and chemical parameters.

Journal: Nephrol Dial Transplant 1999/04/08
Published: 1999
Authors: Vorbeck-Meister, I.;Sommer, R.;Vorbeck, F.;Horl, W. H.
Address: Hygiene Institute, University of Vienna, Austria.

BACKGROUND: The bacterial and chemical contamination of dialysate fluids are important problems in haemodialysis therapy and may be caused by the water used for dialysate preparation. METHODS: We performed a survey of the microbiological and chemical quality of the water used in seven dialysis wards. Special attention was paid to the effects of each water treatment step, for example ion exchange, reverse osmosis and UV disinfection, on the number of bacteria (measured as colony forming units, CFU), the amount of endotoxin (endotoxin units, EU) and various chemical parameters, the main focus being on calcium, magnesium, sulphate, aluminium and heavy metals. RESULTS: CFU values exceeding the European Pharmacopeia value, determined at an incubation temperature of 22 degrees C, were found in the samples of raw water (20.0%, n=25), after ion exchange (66.7%, n=12), after reverse osmosis (33.3%, n=18) and also in samples of the dialysis water taken at the inlets (12.5%, n=40) and outlets (50.0%, n=18) of the machines. Whereas all raw water samples from the wards showed high mean values for endotoxin (0.56-9.10 EU/ml) and the endotoxin levels were often enhanced after ion exchange (0.13- >9.49 EU/ml), treatment by reverse osmosis led to a satisfactory decrease in endotoxin in all samples (<0.03 EU/ml). Sufficient reductions in calcium, magnesium and sulphate could only be achieved by the combined application of ion exchange and reverse osmosis. Mercury contamination was observed in the samples after ion exchange at three treatment plants, this was possibly caused by polluted regenerants. Increased amounts of aluminium, copper and zinc were found in water samples from different sites in the treatment systems and were caused by materials in contact with the water. CONCLUSIONS: A sufficient chemical water purification treatment system should consist of ion exchange and reverse osmosis. Attention has to be paid to the suitability of materials in contact with the water and of the chemicals used, for example regenerants or corrosion inhibitors. From the microbiological point of view, a safety UV disinfection step in the water-treatment system is favourable. To avoid bacterial recontamination periodic cleaning and disinfecting of the water-treatment and distribution systems, as well as the dialysis machine are essential. There is the need for complete guidelines regarding dialysis water that include all relevant chemical and microbiological parameters. Based on this standard, periodic examination of the water after each treatment step has to be performed.

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