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J Vasc Access. 2012 Jan-Mar;13(1):61-4. doi: 10.5301/JVA.2011.8442.

Power injection of iodinated intravenous contrast material through acute and chronic hemodialysis catheters.

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Department of Radiology, Yale-New Haven Hospital, CT 06510, USA.



End-stage renal disease patients with hemodialysis catheters in need of contrast enhanced imaging studies often have limited peripheral venous access. In this study we aimed to determine pressures generated in hemodialysis catheters during power injection of computed tomography (CT) contrast media.


Three different chronic hemodialysis catheters and two acute hemodialysis catheters were included in this study. All catheters were evaluated in vitro. A total volume of 120 cc of CT contrast material was injected at rate of 10 cc/s using a power injector. The catheters were connected to the power injector using a standard connecting tubing. Pressures were simultaneously measured in the power injector as well as in the hemodialysis catheters.


The maximal measured pressures during injection in the power injector averaged 338 PSI (SD ± 8.7 PSI). The maximal measured pressure in the dialysis catheters ranged between 9.17 and 21.2 PSI. Pressures averaged 14.02 PSI (SD ± 3.34 PSI). The average pressure in the power injector was over 23 times higher than the pressure recorded at the hemodialysis catheter. None of the catheters ruptured or deformed during testing.


Pressures measured in hemodialysis catheters during power injection are lower than currently believed and markedly lower than the pressures recorded in the power injector. Standard hemodialysis catheters are likely to be amenable to power contrast injection in hemodialysis patients who have limited venous access. In vivo studies are necessary to confirm these findings.

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