Purpose: To evaluate percutaneous fibrin sleeve stripping (PFSS) to prolong functional patency in failing hemodialysis catheters.
Materials and methods: Forty PFSS procedures were performed in 24 catheters in 23 consecutive patients with an inadequate blood flow rate (< 200 mL/min) during hemodialysis. The fibrin sleeve was mechanically stripped off the shaft of the catheter with a snare introduced via the common femoral vein. Durability of PFSS was determined with life-table analysis.
Results: Median time from catheter placement to initial failure was 3.5 months (range, 5 days to 22 months). The technical success rate for PFSS was 100%; initial patency was restored in 39 of 40 procedures (98%), and no symptomatic pulmonary embolism occurred. Primary patency after single PFSS was 45% at 3 months and 28% at 6 months (median added patency, 2.8 months). Postprocedure secondary patency with multiple PFSS procedures was 83% at 3 months and 72% at 6 months (P = .01) (overall catheter patency, 90% at 6 months and 81% at 1 year [P < .001]).
Conclusion: Multiple PFSS procedures can prolong patency in hemodialysis catheters with a fibrin sleeve.