Introduction: Air bubbles in the dialysis circuit are rarely visible after automatic priming; however, they are often visible after the needles are manually connected to the circuit. To prevent this issue, we thought to prime needles with a circuit at automatic priming by the hemodialysis machine. In order to achieve this idea, we designed and manufactured a novel capped needle to connect the needles to the extracorporeal circuit before the automatic priming of the hemodialysis machine. This study investigated the effectiveness of this novel capped needle and compared it with the conventional method for preventing air bubble contamination. Methods: We tested novel capped needles ten times to evaluate whether the dialysis machine works appropriately and removes air bubbles even with the attached capped needle. Next, we performed 25 trials using the conventional method, in which skilled nurses manually connect the needle. In both methods, we thoroughly counted the air bubbles with our naked eyes. We predicted that the capped needle would leave few bubbles in the circuit. In order to evaluate fewer bubbles, we conducted an additional experiment using a microparticle counter to measure the size and number of the bubbles. Results: We thoroughly searched for air bubbles during each of the ten tests but could not find any bubbles visible to the naked eye. In the conventional method, bubbles were visible in 29 out of 50 cases. The bubble count was significantly lower in the capped-needle method than in the conventional method (p < 0.0001, Pearson's χ2 test). In the additional experiments using the microparticle counter, the average remaining air volume in the extracorporeal circuit was 0.0999 ± 0.2438 nL when the priming was performed using the novel capped needles. Conclusion: The novel capped needle eliminated all visible bubbles efficiently and effectively; therefore, it could be a valuable device for hemodialysis treatment. The reduction of air from the dialysis circuit may improve patient prognosis.
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