Researchers at Okayama University report in The Journal of Vascular Access the use of a supporting device for accurately placing haemodialysis catheters in dialysis patients. The device was successfully used in a group of 10 patients and, according to the investigators, is expected to become an essential tool in situations where other, catheter-free haemodialysis approaches are not possible.
Toshiaki Ohara (Assistant Professor, Okayama University, Okayama, Japan) and colleagues developed a device which they have found helps to enable accurate tunnelled cuffed catheter (TCC) placement. The researchers’ insertion support device accommodates for individual body shape differences and is expected to decrease the rate of TCC replacements—typically ranging between 8.9% and 56%.
The device was made from expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE). It can be described as a bendable ribbon with holes (eyelets) spaced 1cm apart; the holes allow for the making of markings on the patient’s body with a felt-tip pen.
The insertion support device was tested on 10 Japanese adult haemodialysis patients (six men and four women with a mean age of 71.3 years) treated at Shigei Medical Research Hospital. Placement of the device on the body took place with the help of X-ray imaging: the tip of the device, for marking the TCC entry site, was laid so that it overlaps with the right heart border. With the help of the markings made on the patient’s body, the physician could insert the TCC within an error of about 1cm. The patients were observed for two months, during which there was no catheter replacement needed.
Ohara and colleagues report that the device helps to reduce catheter waste and the overall cost of haemodialysis. In addition, as the attachment of a catheter requires exposure to X-rays, it reduces accumulated radiation doses for both patients and physicians. Although the study was only carried out in 10 patients in a short observation period, the investigators “anticipate that this new device can be used for catheter intervention in many fields”.