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J Vasc Access. 2014 May-Jun;15(3):183-8. doi: 10.5301/jva.5000186. Epub 2013 Oct 31.

A refinement of Hong's technique for the removal of stuck dialysis catheters: an easy solution to a complex problem.

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1 Interventional Radiology Unit, Radiology Department, IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia - Italy.



A long-term tunneled hemodialysis catheter can be difficult or impossible to pull out if a fibrin sleeve has attached it to the venous wall. We report the outcome of a refinement of Hong's technique for removing incarcerated catheters aimed at improving its feasibility and safety.


We applied a modification of Hong's technique in four patients (two males, age ranging from 51 to 68 years) with jugular twin hemodialysis catheters (five of eight lines incarcerated). Hong pioneered the technique of endoballooning to expand a stuck central venous catheter, thus freeing it from adhesions. In our technical refinement, we cut the catheter close to its venous entry point in order to facilitate pullout and inserted a valved introducer as access for guide wires as well as for inflations of the catheter balloon. A stiff guide wire was placed in the inferior vena cava to avoid potential damage to heart cavities. Dilation was monitored under fluoroscopy with constrictions showing points where the catheter was incarcerated. If adhesions persisted through the same introducer, endoluminal dilations were repeated with a larger diameter balloon until the catheter was released. New catheters can be positioned using the stiff guide wire already in place. All removals were carried out under local anesthesia in an angiographic room by interventional radiologists.


All catheters were successfully removed without complications. Average fluoroscopy time for removal was 12 minutes. In the case of a Tesio catheter removed after 12 years because of infection, a computed tomography scan 2 months later revealed persistence of a calcified fibrin sleeve in the vessel.


Hong's technique was confirmed to be a simple, safe and highly effective way to remove incarcerated long-term central venous catheters. The refinements we adopted made the procedure more flexible and possibly less prone to complications. By properly using ordinary tools available anywhere, Hong's technique could be considered Columbus' egg in this previously risky field.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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