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A prospective study of pyrogenic reactions in hemodialysis patients using bicarbonate dialysis fluids filtered to remove bacteria and endotoxin


Pyrogenic reactions (PR) are a well-recognized complication of hemodialysis and have been associated with dialyzer reuse, high-flux dialysis, and bicarbonate dialysate. However, the roles of bacteria and endotoxin in dialysate for producing PR are not well defined. To determine the effect of removing most bacteria and endotoxin from the dialysate on the incidence of PR, a cohort of chronic hemodialysis patients receiving high-flux, high-efficiency, or conventional hemodialysis at three centers with bicarbonate dialysis fluids that had been filtered with a polysulfone high-flux hemodialyzer was prospectively studied. Unfiltered bicarbonate concentrate had median bacterial and endotoxin concentrations of 479,000 CFU/mL and 39,800 pg/mL, respectively. After filtration of the bicarbonate concentrate at the central proportioner, dialysate had a median 9.2 CFU/mL of bacteria and 17.8 pg/mL of endotoxin. Dialysate filtered at individual proportioning dialysis machines had a median 0.001 CFU/mL of bacteria and 0.19 pg/mL of endotoxin. Nine PR were identified among 303 patients after 28,007 hemodialysis treatments (0.3 PR/1,000 treatments). The rate of PR was similar for the three hemodialysis treatment modalities and for first-use compared with reused dialyzers. Although the PR rate in this study was lower (P = 0.046) than the PR rate of a previous study with unfiltered dialysis fluids (0.7 PR/1,000 treatments), it represents a difference of only 10 PR in over 28,000 treatments. It was concluded that filtration of hemodialysis fluids is efficacious in removing bacterial and endotoxin contamination and can result in a lower incidence of PR in patients receiving high-flux, high-efficiency, or conventional hemodialysis.

Pegues DA, Oettinger CW, Bland LA, Oliver JC, Arduino MJ, Aguero SM, McAllister SK, Gordon SM, Favero MS, Jarvis WR

J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 1992 Oct;3(4):1002-7

PMID: 1450362