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Exploration of Polytetrafluoroethylene as a Potential Material Replacement for Hemodialysis Applications

  • Patrick E. Nichols (a1), Jeffrey S. Bates (a1) and Taylor D. Sparks (a1)

Abstract

Dialysis is the process by which an artificial kidney device removes waste and excess water from a patient. An outstanding problem with dialysis is that the body has a remarkable immune function where proteins and antigens mark foreign objects as possible threats despite the biocompatibility of the material. Upon adhesion to polymeric materials used currently in dialysis, proteins are lost. In this study, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is investigated as a potential replacement material for dialysis tubing because of its unreactive nature. The focus is to determine if PTFE will prove a viable material in minimizing protein adhesion and further reducing antibody loss of the patient. Protein loss as a function of filtration time was measured. PVC and PTFE materials were investigated following the same battery of testing where the protein concentrations in the blood were characterized using UV Visible spectrophotometry. Results demonstrate a loss of nearly 12 percent of blood proteins to the PVC material over the course of a typical dialysis treatment. Conversely, the protein loss due to adhesion to PTFE was less than two percent.

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