Disinfection in the Hemodialysis Unit

Hemodialysis systems include hemodialysis machines, water supply, water-treatment systems, and distribution systems. During hemodialysis, patients have acquired bloodborne viruses and pathogenic bacteria. Cleaning and disinfection are important components of infection control in a hemodialysis center. EPA and FDA regulate disinfectants used to reprocess hemodialyzers, hemodialysis machines, and water-treatment systems.

Noncritical surfaces (e.g., dialysis bed or chair, countertops, external surfaces of dialysis machines, and equipment [scissors, hemostats, clamps, blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes]) should be disinfected with an EPA-registered disinfectant unless the item is visibly contaminated with blood; in that case a tuberculocidal agent (or a disinfectant with specific label claims for HBV and HIV) or a 1:100 dilution of a hypochlorite solution (500–600 ppm free chlorine) should be used. This procedure accomplishes two goals: it removes soil on a regular basis and maintains an environment that is consistent with good patient care. Hemodialyzers are disinfected with peracetic acid, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, heat pasteurization with citric acid, and chlorine-containing compounds. Hemodialysis systems usually are disinfected by chlorine-based disinfectants (e.g., sodium hypochlorite), aqueous formaldehyde, heat pasteurization, ozone, or peracetic acid. All products must be used according to the manufacturers’ recommendations. Some dialysis systems use hot-water disinfection to control microbial contamination.

At its high point, 82% of U.S. chronic hemodialysis centers were reprocessing (i.e., reusing) dialyzers for the same patient using high-level disinfection. However, one of the large dialysis organizations has decided to phase out reuse and, by 2002 the percentage of dialysis facilities reprocessing hemodialyzers had decreased to 63%. The two commonly used disinfectants to reprocess dialyzers were peracetic acid and formaldehyde; 72% used peracetic acid and 20% used formaldehyde to disinfect hemodialyzers. Another 4% of the facilities used either glutaraldehyde or heat pasteurization in combination with citric acid. Infection-control recommendations, including disinfection and sterilization and the use of dedicated machines for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive patients, in the hemodialysis setting were detailed in two reviews. The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) has published recommendations for the reuse of hemodialyzers.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)- Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008.

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Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies in humans and in animals

Air Disinfection

Decontamination of wastes and waste-contaminated materials

Microbial Contamination of Disinfectants

Disinfection in Ambulatory Care, Home Care, and the Home