Exchange of poorly functioning tunneled permanent hemodialysis catheters

R S Garofalo, G X Zaleski, J M Lorenz, B Funaki, J D Rosenblum, J A Leef
AJR. American Journal of Roentgenology 1999, 173 (1): 155-8

OBJECTIVE: The usefulness of exchanging poorly functioning tunneled permanent hemodialysis catheters in patients with end-stage renal disease was evaluated.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed case histories of 51 consecutive patients who underwent 88 catheter exchanges because of poor flow rates. All hemodialysis catheters were initially placed by the radiology service using image guidance. Catheter exchanges were performed through the existing subcutaneous tract over two stiff hydrophilic guidewires and without additional interventions such as fibrin sheath stripping or venoplasty. Life table analysis was performed to evaluate catheter patency rates after initial placement (primary patency) and after multiple exchanges (secondary patency).

RESULTS: The technical success rate for hemodialysis catheter exchange was 100%. Primary catheter patency was 42% at 60 days and 16% at 120 days. Secondary patency was 92% at 60 days and 82% at 120 days. The cumulative infection rate was 1.1 per 1000 catheter days. No complications from the procedure occurred.

CONCLUSION: Catheter exchange is an effective means of prolonging catheter patency in patients with end-stage renal disease and limited central venous access.

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