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Tips from the Experts - Dialysis

by Nancy Ryerson, Staff Writer | December 26, 2012
6 Tips to Keep Dialysis Equipment Safe

Dialysis equipment tends to vary considerably from model to model, but technicians agree that there are a few universal problems end users and technicians should look out for. Home dialysis users should be especially careful to have regular preventive maintenance performed and to notify a technician at the first sign of any irregularity.

  • Never leave supply water on when machines are off
    Line pressure behind dialysis machines can be as high as 60 psi. If the machines are left on overnight, pressure can build and break the valve behind the wall, causing a flood.

  • Get PM every three months or after 1,000 hours of use
    Some manufacturers suggest a quarterly PM, others require a bi-annual check and others judge need by hours of use. Check the equipment manual and always stay on top of preventative maintenance.

  • Check the filters
    Dialysate filters are one key part of dialysis equipment technicians say are sometimes overlooked. Filters can become clogged and cause problems for the rest of the equipment. Technicians should follow manufacturers’ instructions very carefully when it comes to the dialysate filtration system, as filters may need to be cleaned or maintained more often than the rest of the equipment.

  • Avoid cleaning with too much bleach
    Technicians advise cleaning with no more than a one percent bleach-water solution. A stronger mix can damage paint and the equipment’s screens.

  • Watch monitors carefully
    End users should be on the lookout for inconsistent or verified inaccurate readings or results. Technicians say some of the most common problems with dialysis equipment involve malfunctions with monitoring modules.

  • Keep equipment clean
    Infections from dialysis equipment are very dangerous for patients, so technicians should ensure that multi-level disinfection protocols are met in addition to preventive maintenance. For PD, technicians should also use a specific machine to clean and to perform pressure tests and blood volume tests on dialyzers.

These tips are courtesy of Ken Brana, director of operations at Gia Medical; Jeff Ambrose, president of DiaMedical USA; and Richard Tagliagambe Jr., dialysis consultant at Dialysis4Career School of Hemodialysis.

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