Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of stent placement for treating upper extremity central venous obstruction in chronic hemodialysis patients.
Methods and material: Between January 1999 and October 2001, we inserted metallic stents into the upper extremity central veins of 14 patients with shunt dysfunction and/or arm swelling. The indications for stent placement were stenosis or occlusion of the central vein in the upper extremity used for dialysis. Six of the individuals were diagnosed with subclavian vein stenosis, and 5 with brachiocephalic vein stenosis. Of the remaining 3 patients, 2 had subclavian vein occlusion, and 1 had left brachiocephalic vein occlusion.
Results: All the stent placement procedures were technically successful, and there were no major complications. Follow-up ranged from 2 weeks to 29 months. The 1-, 3-, 6- and 12-month primary stent patency rates were 92.8, 85.7, 50 and 14.3%, respectively. Repeat interventions, including percutaneous transluminal angioplasty and additional stent placement, were required in 9 patients. The 3-, 6-, 12-month, and 2-year assisted primary stent patency rates were 100, 88.8, 55.5 and 33.3%, respectively.
Conclusion: Endovascular stent placement is an effective alternative to surgery in patients with shunt dysfunction due to obstruction of an upper extremity central vein. Repeated interventions are usually required to prolong stent patency.