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Decreased hemodialysis circuit pressures indicating postpump tubing kinks: a retrospective investigation of hemolysis in five patients.

Authors
  • 1
Type
Published Article
Journal
Hemodialysis international. International Symposium on Home Hemodialysis
Publication Date
Volume
12
Issue
3
Pages
383–393
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/j.1542-4758.2008.00285.x
PMID: 18638097
Source
Medline

Abstract

The source of hemolysis during hemodialysis must be quickly identified to avoid life-threatening complications. At a single clinic, over a 10-day period in which 550 treatments were performed, 5 case-patients were retrospectively identified for experiencing acute hemolysis (4 deaths) from an unknown origin. The investigation focused on the postpump arterial tubing as the pressure was not monitored in this region, and the segment was shorter than required and could kink if overly stressed at bend points (i.e., tubing support clips, dialyzer inlet). To determine whether the circuit pressures indicated kinked tubing, a relative comparison between each case-patient's recorded arterial (prepump) and venous circuit pressures throughout their adverse event treatment and their immediately preceding treatment was conducted. Treatment pressure-time traces showed that sustained, significant decreases (>25 mmHg) in both of the circuit pressures occurred only on the hemolytic event dates. While direct observations of kinked tubing were not reported, the circuit pressure decreases could only be explained by severe postpump tube kinking causing a decrease in the blood flow rate. While postpump obstructions and hemolysis can occur without causing noticeable changes to the prepump arterial and venous blood line pressures (due to the highly occlusive setting of the roller blood pump), recognizing sudden and/or sustained decreases in the circuit pressures during treatment may help to prevent adverse patient events. This analysis reinforces the importance of regularly checking the blood tubing set for kinks and for monitoring the circuit pressures for atypical trends within and between treatments.

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