Separation and Purification Technology, Vol.225, 60-73, 2019
New membranes based on polyethersulfone - SlipSkin (TM) polymer blends with low fouling and high blood compatibility
Hemodialysis is an important therapy for treating patients with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). These patients visit the hospital 3 times a week and each time their blood is cleansed during 4-hour dialysis sessions using a hollow fiber membrane module; also called artificial kidney. This device mainly achieves removal of small water-soluble toxins and a limited number of middle molecules. To improve the clearance of toxins, especially middle molecules and protein bound toxins, longer treatment via nocturnal dialysis and/or the application of portable/wearable artificial kidney is required. Such therapies require application of membranes with very low fouling and very good blood compatibility. Current membranes often contain hydrophilic additives which could elute during sterilization processes and/or during long-term filtration. In this study, we propose a simple method for developing low fouling blood compatible membranes by blending of polyethersulfone (PES), a material already used for fabrication of dialysis membranes, with small amounts of SlipSkin (TM) (SS), a blood compatible random copolymer of hydrophilic N-vinylpyrrolidone (NVP) and hydrophobic N-butylmethacrylate (BMA). Our results show that membranes with 2 wt% of SS have high fouling resistance to proteins and middle-size molecules and very good blood compatibility, making these membranes promising for application in dialysis therapy.