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Artif Organs. 2016 May;40(5):E84-8. doi: 10.1111/aor.12643. Epub 2015 Dec 18.

Balloon Dilatation for Removal of an Irretrievable Permanent Hemodialysis Catheter: The Safest Approach.

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Department of Radiology, Wroclaw Medical University, Wroclaw, Poland.
Department of Nephrology and Transplantation Medicine, Wroclaw Medical University, Wroclaw, Poland.
Department of Faculty of Dentistry, Wroclaw Medical University, Wroclaw, Poland.


Long-term hemodialysis catheter dwell time in the central vein predisposes to fibrin sheath development, which subsequently causes catheter malfunction or occlusion. In very rare cases, the catheter can be overgrown with fibrin and rigidly connected with the vein or heart structures. This makes its removal almost impossible and dangerous because of the possibility of serious complications, namely vein and heart wall perforation, bleeding, or catheter abruption in deep tissues. We describe two cases in which standard retrieval of long-term catheters was not possible. Balloon dilatation of catheter lumens was successfully used to increase the catheter diameter with simultaneous tearing of the fibrin sheath surrounding it. This allowed the catheter to be set free safely. Based on this experience, we present recent literature and our point of view.


Hemodialysis access; Hemodialysis catheter; Removal technique; Retrieval

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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