Transvenous removal of fibrin sheaths from tunneled hemodialysis catheters

Z J Haskal, V H Leen, C Thomas-Hawkins, R D Shlansky-Goldberg, R A Baum, M C Soulen
Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology: JVIR 1996, 7 (4): 513-7

PURPOSE: Long-term hemodialysis catheters are prone to significant dysfunction due to fibrin accumulation around their tips. The authors assessed the efficacy of transvenous snare removal of fibrin to prolong function of these catheters.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Twenty-four procedures were performed in 20 patients with tunneled hemodialysis central venous catheters. Technical success was gauged by venography and the ability to infuse and aspirate catheters. Durable efficacy was assessed by improvement in hemodialysis.

RESULTS: Twenty-two of 24 procedures were performed successfully. In two cases residual material remained despite repeated stripping. Mean preprocedure hemodialysis blood-liters processed per hour increased from 15.1 to 19.1 L/h in the first dialysis session after stripping, and blood flow rates of 300 mL/min or greater were restored. By the fifth dialysis session after stripping, the blood-liters processed per hour dropped to 15.9 L/h as catheter flow rates returned to unacceptable levels.

CONCLUSIONS: Percutaneous fibrin removal with a loop snare provides no durable benefit in improving function of failing hemodialysis catheters.

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