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Fourteen years of hemodialysis with a central venous catheter: mechanical long-term complications.

The ideal dialysis access ensures adequate blood flow for dialysis, has a long life, and is associated with a low complication rate. Although no current type of access fulfills all these criteria, the native arteriovenous fistula (AVF) is close to doing so. Unfortunately, various kinds of vascular access (VA) are becoming more and more necessary to enable hemodialysis (HD). The central venous catheter (CVC), which is associated with higher morbidity and mortality, could be the only viable option to maintain permanent VA. We report an unusual complication in a patient, a 74-year-old female, who had been undergoing HD via a CVC for 14 yrs. A polyurethane CVC with a double lumen was inserted into the right internal jugular vein because an AVF was not feasible, and a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) prosthesis was obstructed. In 2003, the CVC was removed due to stenosis and occlusion of the superior vena cava. A new CVC, also made of polyurethane and with a double lumen, was inserted into the left femoral vein. In January 2005, the patient reported a small rupture of about 3-4 mm located under the cuff of the CVC. For this reason, the left femoral vein had to be used, replacing the Optiflow one with a 40-cm long Tesio CVC, and the second catheter was inserted into the right femoral artery by conventional surgery. After 10 months, the patient returned once more, after the CVC in the left femoral vein had been removed because of malfunction and that the at-tempts to cannulate the same vein again had failed. Currently, two 70-cm long Tesio catheters implanted in the right femoral vein (whose tips almost reach the diaphragm) are used for dialysis sessions. The number of CVC implants has progressively increased amongst HD patients who are elderly, diabetic or who have been on long-term HD. The patient described in this case report is currently using a 70-cm long double Tesio catheter (single Tesio CVC in SPI silicon) placed in the right femoral vein. She has resumed therapy with dicumarol anticoagulants, maintaining INR within the 2.5-3.5 range. In conclusion, both the increase in the use of venous catheters for HD and in the survival of dialysis patients contribute towards the observation of rare complications associated with CVC use.

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