Heating Elements and Renal Dialysis

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Millions of patients suffering from kidney failure worldwide rely on heating elements to assist in the success of their treatment.  Renal dialysis is a medical process that becomes necessary when the normal functions of the kidneys become compromised. The kidneys help keep the body and its blood healthy by removing harmful wastes from the blood. Renal dialysis involves filtering the blood of excess fluid, minerals and waste when the kidneys can no longer do so on their own.

A dialysis machine tries to mimic some of the functions of a human kidney. One of the primary jobs of a kidney is to remove urea and certain salts from the blood so they can exit the body in urine. In a dialysis machine, blood from the patient runs through tubes made of a semi-porous membrane. Outside the tubes is a sterile solution made up of water, sugars and other components. Red and white blood cells and other important blood components are too large to fit through the pores in the membranes, but urea and salt flow through membranes into the sterile solution and are removed.

The medical equipment involved in the process of renal dialysis requires the fitting of heating elements, including cartridge heaters, to enable treatment.  The heating element is essential in three steps:

  1. the disinfection of equipment after each patients use, at 90°C
  2. throughout the dialysis cycle where the patient’s blood is cleaned, at 37°C, and
  3. when cleaning the system at the end of each day, again at 90°C.

The temperature of the heating elements will be monitored throughout the duration of each of these steps, but most significantly at step 2., as patients need to be dialysed with dialysate at 36-42°C.  Dialysis at below 36°C is associated with the patient feeling cold and uncomfortable, whereas dialysis at temperatures above 42°C is life threatening.