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Semin Dial. 2008 Sep-Oct;21(5):401-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-139X.2008.00444.x. Epub 2008 Jun 19.

Hemodialysis central venous catheters as a source of inflammation and its implications.


The mortality rate for end-stage renal disease patients is six times higher than in the general population. Hemodialysis central venous catheter (CVC) utilization has increased by 50% between 1998 and 2004 and data from the United States Renal Data System suggest that 81% of the patients initiate hemodialysis through a CVC. There is evidence that the two observations are linked in both an obvious way (catheter-related sepsis) as well as in a less obvious manner-chronic inflammation. Inflammation is highly prevalent in chronic hemodialysis (CHD) patients and is consistently associated with poor outcomes. Some of the most important consequences of inflammation in CHD include, but are not limited to, cardiovascular disease, uremic protein-energy wasting, erythropoietin hyporesponsiveness, and increased hospitalization and death rates. Use of CVC has been long suspected to play a role in the inflammatory response in CHD patients. Recent studies have shown that the presence of CVCs is associated with higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), lower serum albumin values, and lower hemoglobin values. Furthermore, there are data showing that CRP levels decrease following CVC removal. Accordingly, avoidance of CVC represents an effective strategy to limit the inflammatory response in CHD patients and potentially prevent its devastating consequences.

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