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Radiology. 1991 Jan;178(1):243-7.

Pharmacomechanical thrombolysis and angioplasty in the management of clotted hemodialysis grafts: early and late clinical results.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, UCSD Medical Center 92103.


The results of pharmacomechanical thrombolysis and angioplasty of 121 thrombosed hemodialysis grafts were reviewed. The initial pharmacomechanical method (used in 65 cases) employed clot maceration with hook-shaped catheters and clot lacing with highly concentrated urokinase. The current technique (used in 56 cases) consisted of pulsed-spray injection of urokinase into the clot. All fully treated grafts (117 cases) underwent complete or near-complete thrombolysis, and 93% remained patent after 1 day. Mean time for pulsed-spray lysis was 46 minutes +/- 21. One patient (less than 1%) had gastrointestinal bleeding and received a transfusion; minor complications occurred in 3% of patients. Primary and secondary graft patency rates for both methods at 1 year were 26% and 51%, respectively. While graft age and results of angioplasty did not influence future graft patency, shorter intervals between graft thromboses was predictive of earlier subsequent graft failure. Results suggest that pharmacomechanical thrombolysis and angioplasty provide rapid, consistent, and safe recanalization of clotted hemodialysis grafts and represent a promising additional therapeutic approach to long-term graft management.

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