Baxter Dialysis Filters

Modified on 2009/10/14 21:44 by admin
On October 17, 2001, Baxter International Incorporated announced that it was initiating a global recall of the company's A and AF series dialysis filters, also known as dialyzers. The recall comes after 21 Croatian kidney patients suddenly died while using Baxter filters at a hemodialysis center. Patients who visit hemodialysis centers undergo a procedure in which blood is removed from the body and sent through filters which remove toxic substances and return the purified blood to the body. Baxter admits that a fluid used in the company's manufacturing process is the suspected cause of the deaths. The fluid, perfluorohydrocarbon, was used to test the filters for leaks and was suppossed to have evaporated before any patients used the filters. When perfluorohydrocarbon reaches body temperature it converts to a gas which can create bubbles in human blood. The bubbles can impede oxygen delivery and eventually lead to death. Most of the dialysis patients who died experienced shortness of breath, chest tightness, cardiac arrest or stroke symptoms within hours of being dialyzed.

Aside from the Croatian fatalities, Baxter filters are also suspected of playing a role in dozens of deaths in Spain, Italy, Germany, Taiwan, and Colombia. At least four patients in Texas and Nebraska have also died. All told, health officials believe over 50 people may have died because of the perfluorohydrocarbon tainted filters.

In June 2004, Baxter issued a worldwide alert over concerns that its dialysis equipment may be contaminated. In May, a hospital in British Columbia discovered that a blood-resembling substance had leaked into an internal component of a hemodialysis machine. If contaminated blood enters a user, the patient could be at risk of developing a serious disorder, including HIV and hepatitis B or C.

Officials are asking hospitals and dialysis centers to immediately inspect their equipment to ensure there is no contamination. Hundreds of patients are providing blood samples for analysis. Hospitals have discontinued dozens of machines due to the contamination scare. A spokesperson for Baxter insists a thorough investigation will be conducted to determine the exact problem with the devices.

See your doctor if you have experienced serious health problems after a dialysis procedure. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.

See Also

  1. Dialysis: Overview
  2. Breathing: Overview
  3. Heart Attack Lawsuits
  4. Stroke
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