Sharp recanalization strategy in managing SVC occlusion in hemodialysis patients

"Sharp recanalization might be a feasible strategy in managing SVC occlusion in hemodialysis patients" Yang et al (2019).

INTRODUCTION: Hemodialysis catheter-related superior vena cava (SVC) occlusions can cause considerable morbidity for patients and be challenging to treat if refractory to conventional guide wire transversal. This pilot study assessed the feasibility and safety of sharp recanalization of SVC occlusion in hemodialysis patients.

METHODS: This study retrospectively enrolled hemodialysis patients treated in West China Hospital diagnosed with SVC occlusion who failed traditional guide wire transversal from January 2014 to November 2017. In brief, a guide wire from the femoral approach was advanced to the lower end of the obstructive lesion to act as a target, while the stiff end of hydrophilic wire was advanced though a jugular approach. Under fluoroscopic guidance in biplane imaging, the occlusive SVC lesion was penetrated with the stiff wire that was snared and pulled through. Graded dilation of the SVC and subsequent tunneled-cuffed catheter implantation were performed. Demographic information and clinical outcomes were recorded and evaluated.

FINDINGS: Sixteen patients with a mean age of 62 ± 13 years (13 females and 3 males) who received SVC sharp recanalization were included in this study. The sharp recanalization procedure was successfully performed in 14 patients (87.5%). Two patients were complicated with SVC laceration and hemopericardium but remained asymptomatic and required no surgical repair. One patient suffered ventricular fibrillation during procedure. Despite the return of spontaneous circulation, the patient unfortunately died of gastrointestinal tract bleeding after 3 days in ICU. Follow-up suggested the 6-month catheter patency to be 92.85% and 12-month catheter patency to be 58.33%. No long-term procedure-related complications were recorded.

DISCUSSION: Sharp recanalization might be a feasible strategy in managing SVC occlusion in hemodialysis patients. The potential life-threatening complications (cardiac arrhythmia and SVC laceration) necessitate strict eligibility screening, skillful operation, and avoidance of over-dilation of SVC.


Yang, L., Yang, L., Zhao, Y., Wang, Y., Yu, Y., Salerno, S., Li, Y., Fu, P. and Cui, T. (2019) The feasibility and safety of sharp recanalization for superior vena cava occlusion in hemodialysis patients: A retrospective cohort study. Hemodialysis International. December 6th. doi: 10.1111/hdi.12804. (Epub ahead of print).

Safety IV catheter