The difference is clear – Ultrapure water

The quality of purified water is vital in dialysis, where water makes up 99% of the dialysate. The dialysis patient’s health is directly related to the water quality, their blood being cleansed by 25,000 litres of dialysate every year.

Where the purified water can be guaranteed to reach Ultrapure standards, this will support the use of the new mode in dialysis, online Hemodiafiltration (OLHDF). This demands the very highest levels of water purity, but significantly increases benefits for patient well-being.

Frank Kelly, Principal Clinical Engineer with St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, spoke about their OLHDF unit and the level of ultrapure water that this requires.

“When we planned our new dialysis unit at St Vincent’s, we wanted to put in an OLHDF system as all evidence pointed to this being better for patient health. We looked at the level of water purification we would need to support the new system and tendered for a system that would guarantee ultrapure water.”

“Dublin based company Whitewater installed our new water purification plant in 2006 and testing and validation of the water supply shows that this has consistently provided ultrapure water of the very highest of standards, ensuring that our OLHDF units operate at peak efficiency.”

“Our patients tell us that they have more energy, sleep better and feel much better after several weeks of OLHDF treatment. This indicates how beneficial the new technology is and how important our water supply is to be able to offer this to patients,” Kelly said.

“The patient benefits of OLHDF are becoming more widely recognised and it seems that more hospitals will be looking to change to this modality of treatment in the near future, updating their water purification systems to enable the changes.”

Tim Quinn, director of Whitewater who supply most of the regional hospitals in Ireland with purified water for Renal Dialysis, spoke about how it is possible to ensure that the purified water reaches the Ultrapure standards.

“Consistent ultrapure water is a significant quality increase from pure water and is more difficult to achieve. We guarantee that water will reach the Ultrapure Water Standard once all components within the system are fully in place which would be our normal design for dialysis.

“These systems have some unique aspects including a ‘double hose connection system’ which circulates water constantly right up to the dialysis machine, avoiding system dead legs. Heat disinfection of the double pass Reverse Osmosis (RO) system and a high grade cross linked polyethylene (PEX) ringmain loop all combine to ensure consistent supply to Ultrapure standards.”

“More and more hospitals are requesting ultrapure water quality for their renal dialysis units. We are currently commissioning and validating a new dialysis water purification system for the Cardiac, Renal Oncology Building at Cork University Hospital and the ultrapure water it will supply will facilitate the new HDF dialysis systems that will serve the wider community,” he added.

Article first written for Spectrum Magazine Spring 2010.