Conversion of temporary hemodialysis catheters to permanent hemodialysis catheters: a retrospective study of catheter exchange versus classic de novo placement

Abigail Falk, Nagarathna Prabhuram, Saudhamini Parthasarathy
Seminars in Dialysis 2005, 18 (5): 425-30
Many clinicians believe that de novo access is required when converting temporary hemodialysis (HD) catheters to long-term or permanent catheters. However, since vascular access sites are at a premium in the dialysis patient, it is important to preserve existing central venous catheters and conserve future access sites. In this retrospective study, data from 94 patients referred to interventional radiology for placement of long-term, tunneled HD catheters between July 2001 and September 2002 were reviewed. The study group consisted of 42 patients in whom the temporary catheter was exchanged for a peel-away sheath and a tunneled catheter inserted using the existing venous access site. The control group included 52 patients who received traditional de novo placement of permanent catheters. Based on available follow-up data, we report a 100% technical success rate, with 72% patency at 30 days in the study group (n = 32; mean age 58 years). By comparison, de novo catheter placement (n = 35; mean age 59 years) yielded a 100% technical success rate, with 83% patency at 30 days. The overall infection rate was 0.30 per 100 catheter-days (total 3036 catheter-days) and 0.36 per 100 catheter-days (total 3295 catheter-days), respectively (chi2 = 0.64, p > or = 0.05). There was no incidence of exit site infection, tunnel infection, or florid sepsis in either group. Likewise, no stenosis or bleeding complication was noted. Thus conversion of a temporary HD catheter to a tunneled catheter using the same venous insertion site is safe, does not increase the risk of infection, and allows conservation of other central venous access sites.

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