Long-term outcome of permanent hemodialysis catheters: a controlled study

Blood Purif. 2001;19(4):401-7. doi: 10.1159/000046971.


Aims: Hemodialysis tunneled catheters are widely used nowadays. However, their complications, infection and dysfunction, remain much too frequent. Different types of tunneled silicone hemodialysis catheters are available. We prospectively compared the long-term outcome of the two most popular devices, Permcath cuffed double catheter and TwinCath uncuffed twin catheter, both inserted percutaneously.

Methods: From January 1994 to April 1998, 125 tunneled catheters were inserted in the internal jugular vein of 86 chronic hemodialysis patients, 63 TwinCath MedComp (TC) and 62 Permcath Quinton (PC). They were prospectively followed looking for technical patency, infection and dysfunction rate.

Results: TC were used more often for iterative access (52 vs. 25%, p = 0.01) and were inserted more frequently in the left internal jugular vein (59 vs. 16% p < 0.001). Their median technical survival rate was longer (869 vs. 433 days for PC, p < 0.01) with a 1-year patency rate of 80 vs. 53% (p = 0.002). Total catheter extrusion was also slightly less frequent with TC (4.7 vs. 9.6%), but partial extrusion happened more frequently (43 vs. 16%, p = 0.02). No significant difference in infection rate was observed, 0.77 for TC vs. 1.3 local infection/1,000 catheter days; 1.08 vs. 1.30 bacteremia/1,000 catheter days. A persistent catheter thrombosis was observed in 7.9 vs. 20.9% in PC (p = 0.04), the number of dysfunction was 10.5 vs. 24/1,000 days in use (p = 0.0001) and the number of urokinase infusion was 4.4 vs. 12/1,000 days (p = 0.001). PC needed more radiological interventions for dysfunction with endolumenal brushes (4 vs. 0) or fibrin sleeve removal (4 vs. 0). The vena cava thrombosis incidence was not different (2 vs. 3).

Conclusion: Although the study was not randomized, TC appears more efficient allowing for a longer patency with a lower dysfunction rate than PC. This was reinforced by less favorable conditions of TC including more left jugular side and more iterative catheters. The cuff does not offer a better bacteriological barrier or protection against extrusion, and the TC seems at a less risk of fibrin sleeves. However, a large randomized study is needed to definitively conclude.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Catheters, Indwelling / adverse effects
  • Catheters, Indwelling / standards*
  • Equipment Failure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infections / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Embolism / etiology
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects
  • Renal Dialysis / instrumentation*
  • Thrombosis / etiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Venae Cavae