[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 28, 1996

Effect of Dialyzer Reuse on Survival of Patients Treated With Hemodialysis

Author Affiliations

From the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology (Drs Feldman, Bilker, and Escarce, Ms Kinosian, Mr Simmons and Mr Holmes), and Renal Electrolyte and Hypertension Division, Department of Medicine (Dr Feldman), University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia; and the Department of Health Care Systems, Wharton School (Dr Pauly), Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (Drs Feldman, Pauly, and Escarce, and Ms Kinosian) and Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine (Dr Escarce), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

JAMA. 1996;276(8):620-625. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540080042027

Objective.  —To evaluate the impact of dialyzer reuse on the survival of US hemodialysis patients.

Study Design and Participants.  —Nonconcurrent cohort study of 27938 patients beginning hemodialysis in the United States in 1986 and 1987.

Main Outcome Measure.  —Patient survival.

Results.  —Dialysis in freestanding facilities reprocessing dialyzers with the combination of peracetic and acetic acids was associated with greater mortality than treatment in facilities not reprocessing dialyzers (rate ratio [RR],1.10, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02-1.18; P=.02) In contrast, there was no significant difference between survival in freestanding facilities reprocessing dialyzers with either formaldehyde (RR,1.03, 95% CI, 0.96-1.10; P=.45) or glutaraldehyde (RR,1.13, 95% CI, 0.95-1.35; P=.18) and survival in freestanding facilities not reprocessing dialyzers. Among freestanding facilities reprocessing dialyzers, use of peracetic/acetic acid was associated with a higher rate of death than use of formaldehyde (RR=1.08, 95% CI, 1.01-1.14; P=.02). There was no statistical difference between survival in hospital-based facilities reprocessing dialyzers with either peracetic/acetic acid (RR=0.95, 95% CI, 0.85-1.06; P=.40), formaldehyde (RR=1.06, 95% CI, 0.98-1.15; P=.12), or glutaraldehyde (RR=1.09, 95% CI, 0.71-1.67; P=.70) and survival in hospital-based facilities not reprocessing dialyzers. In addition, choice of sterilant was not associated with a statistically significant difference in survival among hospital-based facilities reprocessing dialyzers.

Conclusions.  —Dialysis in freestanding facilities reprocessing dialyzers with peracetic/acetic acid may be associated with worse survival than dialysis in freestanding facilities not reprocessing dialyzers or in those reprocessing with formaldehyde. We were unable to determine whether these relationships arose from greater comorbidity among patients treated in facilities using peracetic/acetic acid, poor quality of dialysis procedures in these facilities, or direct toxicity of peracetic/ acetic acid. These findings raise important concerns about potentially avoidable mortality among US hemodialysis patients treated in dialysis facilities reprocessing hemodialyzers.