Fabrication of zeolite–polymer composite nanofibers for removal of uremic toxins from kidney failure patients
There is a need to develop a simple, cheap, and accessible method of treating patients with kidney failure, especially in resource-limited environments such as disaster areas and the developing world due to the inaccessibility of conventional hemodialysis treatments. In this study, we develop a zeolite–polymer composite nanofiber mesh to remove uremic toxins for blood purification. The nanofiber is composed of blood compatible poly(ethylene-co-vinyl alcohol) (EVOH) as the primary matrix polymer and zeolites which are capable of selectively adsorbing uremic toxins such as creatinine. The composite fiber meshes were produced by a cost-effective electrospinning method: electrospinning composite solutions of EVOH and zeolites. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images revealed that the 7 w/v% EVOH solution produced non-woven fibers with a continuous and smooth morphology. The SEM also showed that over 90% of zeolites in the solution were successfully incorporated into the EVOH nanofibers. Although the barrier properties of the EVOH matrix lowered the creatinine adsorption capacity of the zeolites in the fiber when compared with adsorption to free zeolites, their adsorption capacity was still 67% of the free zeolites. The proposed composite fibers have the potential to be utilized as a new approach to removing nitrogenous waste products from the bloodstream without the requirement of specialized equipment.