Background: Thrombotic occlusion is a frequent complication of central venous catheters used to provide temporary blood access on hemodialysis therapy. Heparin-lock is conventionally used to maintain patency of the catheter, but the necessity of heparin-lock has not been determined yet.
Methods: After the immobilized-urokinase double-lumen central venous catheter was inserted into 48 Japanese hemodialysis patients, 22 patients randomized to the heparin group received a 20-ml saline-flush, followed by 2 ml of 1,000 U/ml heparin-lock, and 26 patients randomized to the saline group received only the 20-ml saline-flush once a day for each lumen.
Results: Thrombotic occlusion was observed in only 1 out of 22 patients in the heparin group and 1 out of 26 patients in the saline group. No significant difference of the catheter survival was observed between the two groups (p = 0.8599).
Conclusions: Natural saline-flush is sufficient for maintaining the patency of an immobilized-urokinase double-lumen central venous catheter.