Massively calcified intravascular cast after removal of a tunneled central vein catheter for hemodialysis

J Vasc Access. 2013 Apr-Jun;14(2):196-8. doi: 10.5301/jva.5000113. Epub 2012 Nov 12.


Vascular calcifications usually affect the arteries, while central vein calcifications are rare. A 45-year-old hemodialysis patient underwent a chest CT scan before central vein catheterization required for arteriovenous access thrombosis, in July 2011. He was on hemodialysis since 1995 and from 2005 on warfarin treatment because of repeated thrombosis and dysfunction of arteriovenous fistula and central vein catheters (CVC). A previous tunneled CVC placed in the left external jugular vein was removed in December 2010. Eight months later a chest CT scan showed a 79-mm irregular, linear, tubular radiopaque density in the superior vena cava and left brachiocephalic vein. The possibility of a retained catheter fragment was considered, but the final diagnosis was: calcified "cast" adherent to the vessel wall. This is the first report of an intravenous calcified "cast" (originating from peri-catheter calcification) retained after removal of a tunneled dialysis CVC. This finding is significant because it mimics a retained catheter fragment possibly leading to misdiagnosis and exposing patients to additional risk for unnecessary retrieving interventions. Catheter removal or over the wire substitution in the presence of a calcified cast could also be considered a risky procedure. Retained calcified cast should be included among the long-term complications of hemodialysis CVCs. At the time of publication, the patient is alive without any complication related to the pathology reported.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Brachiocephalic Veins* / diagnostic imaging
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects*
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / instrumentation*
  • Catheters, Indwelling / adverse effects*
  • Central Venous Catheters / adverse effects*
  • Device Removal*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Vascular Calcification / diagnostic imaging
  • Vascular Calcification / etiology*
  • Vena Cava, Superior* / diagnostic imaging