Objective: To evaluate dialysis history, imaging findings and outcome of endovascular treatment in six patients with central venous stenosis without a history of previous catheter placement.
Material and methods: Between April 2000 and June 2004, six (10%) of 57 haemodialysis patients had stenosis of a central vein without a previous central catheter placement. Venography findings and outcome of endovascular treatment in these six patients were retrospectively evaluated. Patients were three women (50%) and three men aged 32-60 years (mean age: 45 years) and all had massive arm swelling as the main complaint. The vascular accesses were located at the elbow in five patients and at the wrist in one patient.
Results: Three patients had stenosis of the left subclavian vein and three patients had stenosis of the left brachiocephalic vein. The mean duration of the vascular accesses from the time of creation was 25.1 months. Flow volumes of the vascular access were very high in four patients who had flow volume measurement. The mean flow volume was 2347 ml/min. One of three patients with brachiocephalic vein stenosis had compression of the vein by the brachiocephalic artery. All the lesions were first treated with balloon angioplasty and two patients required stent placement on long term. Number of interventions ranged from 1 to 4 (mean: 2.1). Symptoms resolved in five patients and improved in one patient who had a stent placed in the left BCV.
Conclusion: Central venous stenosis in haemodialysis patients without a history of central venous catheterization tends to occur or be manifested in patients with a proximal permanent vascular access with high flow rates. Balloon angioplasty with or without stent placement offers good secondary patency rates in mid-term.