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J Vasc Interv Radiol. 1997 Mar-Apr;8(2):197-202.

Replacement of accidentally removed tunneled venous catheters through existing subcutaneous tracts.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8042, USA.



The authors describe their experience with reinsertion of accidentally removed tunneled venous catheters using existing subcutaneous tracts.


Replacement of 13 dislodged tunneled venous catheters was attempted a median of 12 hours (range, 3 hours to 5 days) after accidental removal. The catheters were needed for hemodialysis (n = 11), plasmapheresis (n = 1), or antibiotic therapy (n = 1). The tunnel exit was probed in the same fashion as for a dislodged nephrostomy tube, and new catheters were reinserted once a guide wire was advanced into the central veins. The medical record was reviewed to determine materials used and occurrence of complications, if any.


Replacement was successful in 12 of 13 patients. The remaining patient had a new catheter placed through a fresh puncture during the same visit. There were no infections associated with re-use of existing tunnels. In five patients, after probing the tract with a guide wire, new catheters were simply advanced into the desired position. Seven other successes required additional manipulations with use of dilators and peel-away sheaths.


Tunneled catheters that "fall out" can be readily replace even when reinsertion is attempted up to 5 days later. This represents an important contribution that radiologists can offer in the management of venous access cases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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