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Outbreak of gram-negative bacteremia and pyrogenic reactions in a hemodialysis center


During the period from April 4, 1988, to April 20, 1988, nine pyrogenic reactions and five gram-negative bacteremias occurred in 11 patients undergoing dialysis. All pyrogenic reactions and gram-negative bacteremias occurred among patients in whom a reprocessed dialyzer was used. The rate of pyrogenic reactions or bacteremias per 100 sessions using a reprocessed dialyzer was higher than in sessions during which a new dialyzer was used (4.5 vs. 0; p = 0.03). Dialyzers were manually reprocessed with 2.5% Renalin germicide. The Renalin concentrations varied widely in 12 dialyzers stored after manual reprocessing during the epidemic period (0.9-4.2%); the median endotoxin concentrations varied from 0 to 246 ng/ml and were higher in dialyzers with Renalin concentrations less than or equal to 1.0% than in dialyzers with higher concentrations (p = 0.01). Experiments using a dilution technique described by a technician resulted in Renalin concentrations ranging from 1.4% at the surface to 3.5% at the bottom of the preparation container. These findings suggest that failure to adequately admix Renalin during dilution may be associated with low levels of disinfectant, high levels of bacteria and endotoxins in dialyzers, and outbreaks of pyrogenic reactions and gram-negative bacteremias in dialysis patients.

Beck-Sague CM, Jarvis WR, Bland LA, Arduino MJ, Aguero SM, Verosic G

Am. J. Nephrol. 1990;10(5):397-403

PMID: 2080790