Journal Article

Organic contamination in dialysis water: trichloroethylene as a model compound

Diana Poli, Laura Pavone, Pius Tansinda, Matteo Goldoni, Dante Tagliavini, Salvatore David, Antonio Mutti and Innocente Franchini

in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

Published on behalf of European Renal Association - European Dialysis and Transplant Assoc

Volume 21, issue 6, pages 1618-1625
Published in print June 2006 | ISSN: 0931-0509
Published online February 2006 | e-ISSN: 1460-2385 | DOI:
Organic contamination in dialysis water: trichloroethylene as a model compound

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Background. Routine water monitoring in a haemodialysis centre revealed high trichloroethylene (TCE) concentrations. The aim of this study is to describe the measures adopted after organic contamination of dialysis water in order to avoid the possibility of patient exposure. We also carried out in vitro experiments to evaluate the accumulation of TCE in various devices normally used in a dialysis water treatment system (DWTS).

Methods.In vivo and in vitro blood and water TCE levels were determined by means of solid phase microextraction-gas chromatography/mass spectrometer.

Results. High TCE concentrations were found throughout the DWTS; acceptably low levels were obtained only by replacing the activated charcoal, ionic-exchange resins, microfilters and PVC pipes. The adsorption and realising capacities of these devices were tested in vitro, and the elimination curves made it possible to calculate the total percentage of the previously absorbed TCE mass released into the water. Evidence of exposure was confirmed by the relatively high TCE levels in the patient blood samples taken 30 days after the last exposure even if the subjects were asymptomatic. In vivo experiments showed that the blood gain of TCE through the low flux membrane during the course of dialysis was about 77±10.4% of the amount carried by dialysis fluid as calculated on the basis of its partition coefficient value (Kb/w 3.75).

Conclusions. This study shows that, when present in dialysis water, the lipophilic TCE contaminant can accumulate in various devices, thus transforming them into possible sources of exposure. This highlights the importance of periodically monitoring dialysis water for organic substances that have a great affinity to the blood compartment, in order to prevent occasional or chronic patient exposure.

Keywords: dialysis; organo-halogenated compounds; trichloroethylene; water contamination

Journal Article.  4517 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Nephrology

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