In a hollow-fiber dialyzer, uremic toxins are removed by diffusion and convection, which are influenced by the dialysate flow patterns in the dialyzer. Recently available high-performance dialyzers have complicated dialysate flow patterns, because both positive filtration and negative filtration occur. The objective of the present study was to evaluate dialysate flow in high-performance dialyzers experimentally. Glass-coated 0.1 mmφ platinum electrodes were used for the electrode counter and the working electrode. A counter electrode was placed at the inlet of the dialyzer, and working electrodes were placed at 20 different positions. A voltage of 0.5V was applied between the counter and the working electrodes with a potentiostat, and after the dialyzer was filled with water purified by reverse osmosis, 0.9% NaCl solution was caused to flow. The time at which the 0.9% NaCl solution reached each working electrode from the counter electrode was then measured at a dialysate-side flow rate of 300ml/min and blood-side flow rates of 0 and 200 ml/min. It was found that in dialyzers with high permeability to pure water, dialysate flow was affected by both positive and negative filtration. A comparison was then made between the experimental results and the results of simulation by the finite element method; at positions at which positive and negative filtration occurred, good agreement was obtained. This method makes possible the experimental evaluation of dialysate flow in a high-performance dialyzer in which positive and negative filtration occur.
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