21 Historically, groups of patients in early peritoneal dialysis (PD) programmes were dialysed incentre using intermittent PD. Because PD effluent from HBsAg positive patients is potentially infectious,22 this regular gathering of patients facilitated transmission of HBV. As a consequence, early infection risks were similar for PD and HD.23 With the development of PD as a predominantly GPCR Compound Library screening home therapy, rates of HBV infection in this population have fallen, so that the prevalence of HBV
in PD populations is now heavily influenced by the underlying population prevalence. In countries with very high endemicity of HBV, both PD and HD programmes have similar rates of seropositivity, reflecting HBV acquired before the commencement of dialysis.24,25 Conversely, in countries with low background prevalence, present-day risk Cell Cycle inhibitor of HBV in PD patients is associated with exposure to blood products and previous time spent on HD. The latest US guidelines for HBV infection control in dialysis units were published in 2001.26,27 Other countries have also produced guidelines.28–30 Underpinning these are established infection-control principles. These include vaccination and screening of HD patients, and segregation of those that are infectious. Safe sharp handling is advised, as is avoidance of multidose
vials for intravenous drugs. Other developments that have contributed to a reduction in infection risk include a widespread move from reusable membranes towards disposable dialysers and the introduction of synthetic erythropoietin with a decrease in blood transfusion. Dialysis unit staff members are at risk of infection through exposure Aspartate during the dialysis procedure. Infection with HBV compromises their own health, and risks further staff-to-patient transmission of HBV. Vaccination of all dialysis unit staff is recommended by guidelines, and response rates are >90%.31 Non-responders who are
HBsAg positive should be counselled and assessed accordingly, those who are HBsAg negative should be warned to seek post-exposure prophylaxis in the event of contact with potentially infectious blood. Other steps that can be taken to prevent cross infection with HBV between patients and staff include barrier protection, such as wearing gloves and face shields. Cleaning hands and changing gloves between contacts prevents staff infecting one patient from another. Minimizing staff turnover and allocating dedicated staff to infectious patients is important. Full guidelines relating to management of occupational exposure to HBV, including needlestick injuries is available from the Centers for Disease Control.32 Despite the successes of these measures, HBV outbreaks continue to occur intermittently in HD units. These do not point to inadequacies in infection-control guidelines, but rather to shortcomings in following such recommendations.