This study clearly depicts that Tunneled dialysis catheters (TDCs) are used as temporary means to provide hemodialysis until permanent arteriovenous (AV) access is established. However, some patients may have TDC long term. Our objective was to evaluate patient characteristics and the reasons for and mortality associated with long-term TDC use. A retrospective single-institution analysis was performed. Long-term TDC use was defined as >180 days without more than a 7-day temporary removal time. Reasons for long-term TDC use and complications were recorded. Summary statistics were performed. Multivariable analysis was completed that compared mortality between patients with long-term TDC use with a comparison cohort who underwent AV access creation with subsequent TDC removal.

We identified 50 patients with long-term TDC use from 2013 to 2018. The average age was 63 years, 44% were male, and 76% were African American. Previous TDC use was found in 42%. Median TDC duration was 333 days (range, 185-2029 days). The primary reasons for long-term TDC use were failed AV access (34%), nonmaturing AV access (32%), delayed AV access placement (14%), no AV access options (10%), patient refusal for AV access placement.

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