Dialyzer Reuse Redesigned: Technology You Should Know About

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In addition to the economic benefits and allowing a broader choice of dialyzers, dialyzer reuse significantly reduces the amount of non-biodegradable bio-hazardous medical waste associated with multiple dialysis sessions per month. Finally, reusing dialyzers can improve the cost-benefit balance of daily dialysis, as it will reduce the amount of additional dialyzers that need to be purchased for such frequent schedules.

Dr. Labib, how does ClearFlux technology differ from present reuse systems?

Jack, with standard reuse technology, using a one-phase fluid system, all dialyzers slowly lose function of an increasing percentage of their fibers. When the percent of clogged fibers reaches 10 percent, guidelines recommend that the reused dialyzer should no longer be used. Also, unless bleach is used in the reuse procedure with conventional one-phase fluid-only reuse, permeability of high-flux membranes to middle molecules is lost after very few reuses. In effect, after the initial few uses, a unit reusing high-flux dialyzers using the conventional cleaning approach is treating their patients with a low-flux dialyzer.

Our results suggest that in those dialyzers that we have cleaned using the two-phase gas-liquid NovaFlux cleaning system, even after as many as 40 reuses, there is very little, if any, loss of fiber bundle volume. Also, as indicated by measurement of water permeability and clearance of test middle molecules such as dextran, we find no loss of high-flux capability of high-flux dialyzers that have been reused with the NovaFlux technology.  We presented our results as a Poster Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Nephrology held in Philadelphia this year. Interested parties can view our abstract at this link: http://www.abstracts2view.com/asn_2011/index.php . Sign on as ‘guest’ and search for ‘NovaFlux’.

Does  ClearFlux™ technology offer any significant cost savings compared to current methods?

We estimate that ClearFlux™ can achieve cost savings of approximately 40% vs. single-use and 25% vs. current reuse technologies on a per treatment basis. The cost benefits are primarily driven by:

  • An increase in the number of treatments per dialyzer to more than 40 from the current average of 15.
  • A reduction in labor time by approximately 50% due to the fully-automated batch processing capability and the elimination of manual pre-cleaning/rinsing.
  • A reduction in the additional supplies consumed compared to current reuse technologies. For instance, the ClearFlux™ uses approximately 80 percent less purified (RO) water and 70 percent less peracetic acid (PAA) than commonly used in reuse.
  • A 98 percent reduction in disposal costs associated with single-use and a 63 percent reduction in disposal costs associated with typical present-day reuse technology.

 What about the environment? Does ClearFlux reduce Bio-waste?

 In my opinion, the ClearFlux™ device is the most environmentally friendly dialysis option; it limits the environmental impact of bio-hazardous and non-biodegradable waste by reducing the number of dialyzers manufactured and ultimately disposed of in landfills, by about a factor of 40 compared to single-use.

With offices located in Chicago and in Washington, DC, Jack Ahern provides cutting edge financial and management consulting services to the healthcare community. He has an MBA from the University of Chicago, and undergraduate degrees in both Chemistry and Engineering. He can be reached at (312) 997- 2177.

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