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Am J Kidney Dis. 2001 Jan;37(1):38-42.

Hepatitis C virus in blood and dialysate in hemodialysis.

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Departments of Nephrology and Endocrinology and Infectious Disease and Hemodiafiltration Unit, University of Tokyo, Japan.


The prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) positivity among hemodialysis patients remains high compared with that of the healthy population, and thus the issue of safety and environmental protection must be addressed. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the dynamics of prehemodialysis and posthemodialysis blood HCV levels and HCV escape to spent dialysate. Because heparin has an inhibitory effect on the reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay, a serine protease inhibitor (nafamostat mesilate) was used as the anticoagulant for hemodialysis. High-flux polysulfone membrane dialyzers were used; dialyzer reuse was not performed. Multicyclic RT-PCR was performed for the quantitative detection of HCV. To elucidate HCV escape to spent dialysate, a portion of total spent dialysate was continuously extracted in a sterile fashion using a minutely adjusted syringe pump. No HCV extravasation to spent dialysate was found, although HCV copy numbers were reduced to a statistically significant level in postdialysis blood compared with predialysis levels (P: < 0.05; n = 20). The need to establish standards for risk management in dialysis centers is evident. The data obtained in this study strongly suggest that to minimize the risk for HCV transmission, lower transmembrane pressure (TMP) should be used in the hemodialysis of HCV-positive patients, with fresh polysulfone dialyzers and dialysis settings of 180 to 250 mL/min for blood flow, 500 mL/min for dialysate flow, and less than 18.72 mm Hg for TMP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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