JOURNAL ARTICLE

Conversion of temporary hemodialysis catheters to tunneled hemodialysis catheters

A Falk, S Parthasarathy
Clinical Nephrology 2005, 63 (3): 209-14
15786822

PURPOSE: To determine the feasibility and clinical outcomes of conversion of temporary to tunneled hemodialysis catheters using the same venous insertion site.

METHODS: Data from 42 patients with existing temporary hemodialysis catheters referred for placement of tunneled hemodialysis catheters were retrospectively reviewed. In these patients, the temporary catheter was exchanged for a peel-away sheath, and a tunneled catheter was inserted using the existing venous access site. Technical success, procedural complications, and clinical outcomes were evaluated. Hemodialysis records were reviewed to assess catheter patency during a 30-day follow-up period.

RESULTS: The study group consisted of 20 males and 22 females (mean age: 58 years). All 42 temporary catheters were successfully converted to tunneled hemodialysis catheters without immediate procedure-related complications. Follow-up data were available for 32 patients (total: 3038; median 71 catheter days). Nine catheters were removed for infection, yielding a catheter infection rate of 0.30/100 catheter days; three catheters were removed for blood flow <200 ml/min. 13 patients had catheters removed when catheters were no longer needed. Three patients died with working catheters. The patency rate was 72% at 30 days, with four catheters functioning at the end of the study period.

CONCLUSION: Conversion of a temporary hemodialysis catheter to a tunneled hemodialysis catheter using the same venous insertion site is a safe procedure that avoids complications associated with venotomy and allows conservation of other central venous access sites. Patency and infection rates in these catheters are comparable to several studies of catheter exchange and de novo placement of tunneled hemodialysis catheters.

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