Impact of short-term hemodialysis catheters on the central veins: a catheter venographic study

Eur J Radiol. 2004 Dec;52(3):293-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2003.12.004.


Objective: To determine the incidence of pericatheter sleeve formation, thrombus formation, and stenosis of the central veins in hemodialysis patients with temporary catheters.

Methods and material: In this prospective study, 57 patients (40 males, 17 females) with temporary dialysis catheters had catheter venography by pulling back the catheter just before removal. Patient's age range was 25-87 years (mean age, 51 years). The venographic studies were evaluated for pericatheter sleeve formation, thrombus formation, and stenosis of the brachiocephalic vein (BCV) and the superior vena cava (SVC). The IJV could only be evaluated if there was adequate filling during contrast administration. In a subgroup of patients who had had only right IJV or only right SCV catheters, impact of these catheters on the central veins was compared.

Results: The catheter location was right internal jugular vein (IJV) in 26 cases, right subclavian vein (SCV) in 27 cases, left IJV in 1 case, and left SCV in 3 cases. Thirty-two patients (56%) had had only one temporary catheter and the rest had had more than one inserted. The mean dwell time for the catheters was 21 days (range 7-59 days). A pericatheter sleeve was detected on venography in 32 (56%) patients and thrombus formation was noted in 16 patients (28%). A total of 41 patients (72%) exhibited pericatheter sleeve and/or thrombus formation. While 19 of the 32 patients (59%) without previous catheterization had a sleeve around the catheter, only 13 (52%) of 25 patients who had had multiple catheters inserted had a sleeve (P > 0.005). Of the eight patients (14%) with BCV stenosis, two had >50% stenosis. Only one patient (2%) had mild stenosis of the SVC. Three patients out of 15 (20%) who had diagnostic venography for the IJV had severe stenosis of the vein. Pericatheter sleeve formation was more frequent in women (P < 0.005). However, there were no statistical differences with respect to pericatheter sleeve formation, luminal filling defect and BCV stenosis when patients were grouped according to age, dwell time of the catheter, number of catheters inserted, and diameter of the SVC. Forty-two of the fifty-seven patients had had only right IJV (n =16) or right SCV (n = 26) catheters. There were no differences between these groups with respect to rates of pericatheter sleeve formation, thrombus formation, or BCV stenosis.

Conclusion: This study showed that even short-term catheters result in significantly high rates of pericatheter sleeve and thrombus formation which are two of the important causes of catheter malfunction. The IJV route is known to be much safer than the SCV route with respect to stenosis formation in the vein in which the catheter is inserted; however, the result showed no differences between the two routes with respect to frequencies of pericatheter sleeve formation, thrombus formation, and BCV stenosis. These findings remind us again that we should avoid unnecessary catheter insertion even for short-term in these chronically ill patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brachiocephalic Veins / diagnostic imaging
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / instrumentation*
  • Catheters, Indwelling
  • Constriction, Pathologic / diagnostic imaging
  • Contrast Media
  • Female
  • Fibrin
  • Foreign Bodies / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Jugular Veins* / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phlebography
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Dialysis / instrumentation*
  • Sex Factors
  • Subclavian Vein* / diagnostic imaging
  • Time Factors
  • Vena Cava, Superior / diagnostic imaging
  • Venous Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging


  • Contrast Media
  • Fibrin