Complications of central venous stenosis due to hemodialysis catheters


“We describe four patients with various manifestations of central venous stenosis and SVC syndrome.” Rinat et al (2014).


Rinat, C., Ben-Shalom, E., Becker-Cohen, R., Feinstein, S. and Frishberg, Y. (2014) Complications of central venous stenosis due to permanent central venous catheters in children on hemodialysis. Pediatric Nephrology. August 22nd. [epub ahead of print].


BACKGROUND: Central venous catheters are frequently used as access for hemodialysis (HD) in children. One of the known complications is central venous stenosis. Although this complication is not rare, it is often asymptomatic and therefore unacknowledged. Superior vena cava (SVC) stenosis is obviously suspected in the presence of upper body edema, but several other signs and symptoms are often unrecognized as being part of this syndrome.

CASE-DIAGNOSIS/TREATMENT: We describe four patients with various manifestations of central venous stenosis and SVC syndrome. These sometimes life- or organ-threatening conditions include obstructive sleep apnea, unresolving stridor, increased intracranial pressure, increased intraocular pressure, right-sided pleural effusion, protein-losing enteropathy and lymphadenopathy. The temporal relationship of these complications associated with the use of central venous catheters and documentation of venous stenosis, together with their resolution after alleviation of high venous pressure, points to a causal role. We suggest pathophysiological mechanisms for the formation of each of these complications.

CONCLUSIONS: In patients with occlusion of the SVC, various unexpected clinical entities can be caused by high central venous pressure. As often the etiology is not obvious, a high index of suspicion is needed as in some cases prompt alleviation of the high pressure is mandatory.

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