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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Interventions for treating central venous haemodialysis catheter malfunction

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, October 2017
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (89th percentile)
  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (63rd percentile)

Mentioned by

1 blog
19 tweeters
1 Facebook page


22 Dimensions

Readers on

168 Mendeley
1 CiteULike
Interventions for treating central venous haemodialysis catheter malfunction
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, October 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd011953.pub2
Pubmed ID

Alice L Kennard, Giles D Walters, Simon H Jiang, Girish S Talaulikar


Adequate haemodialysis (HD) in people with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) is reliant upon establishment of vascular access, which may consist of arteriovenous fistula, arteriovenous graft, or central venous catheters (CVC). Although discouraged due to high rates of infectious and thrombotic complications as well as technical issues that limit their life span, CVC have the significant advantage of being immediately usable and are the only means of vascular access in a significant number of patients. Previous studies have established the role of thrombolytic agents (TLA) in the prevention of catheter malfunction. Systematic review of different thrombolytic agents has also identified their utility in restoration of catheter patency following catheter malfunction. To date the use and efficacy of fibrin sheath stripping and catheter exchange have not been evaluated against thrombolytic agents. This review aimed to evaluate the benefits and harms of TLA, preparations, doses and administration as well as fibrin-sheath stripping, over-the-wire catheter exchange or any other intervention proposed for management of tunnelled CVC malfunction in patients with ESKD on HD. We searched the Cochrane Kidney and Transplant Specialised Register up to 17 August 2017 through contact with the Information Specialist using search terms relevant to this review. Studies in the Specialised Register are identified through searches of CENTRAL, MEDLINE, and EMBASE, conference proceedings, the International Clinical Trials Register (ICTRP) Search Portal, and ClinicalTrials.gov. We included all studies conducted in people with ESKD who rely on tunnelled CVC for either initiation or maintenance of HD access and who require restoration of catheter patency following late-onset catheter malfunction and evaluated the role of TLA, fibrin sheath stripping or over-the-wire catheter exchange to restore catheter function. The primary outcome was be restoration of line patency defined as ≥ 300 mL/min or adequate to complete a HD session or as defined by the study authors. Secondary outcomes included dialysis adequacy and adverse outcomes. Two authors independently assessed retrieved studies to determine which studies satisfy the inclusion criteria and carried out data extraction. Included studies were assessed for risk of bias. Summary estimates of effect were obtained using a random-effects model, and results were expressed as risk ratios (RR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) for dichotomous outcomes, and mean difference (MD) and 95% CI for continuous outcomes. Confidence in the evidence was assessed using GRADE. Our search strategy identified 8 studies (580 participants) as eligible for inclusion in this review. Interventions included: thrombolytic therapy versus placebo (1 study); low versus high dose thrombolytic therapy (1); alteplase versus urokinase (1); short versus long thrombolytic dwell (1); thrombolytic therapy versus percutaneous fibrin sheath stripping (1); fibrin sheath stripping versus over-the-wire catheter exchange (1); and over-the-wire catheter exchange versus exchange with and without angioplasty sheath disruption (1). No two studies compared the same interventions. Most studies had a high risk of bias due to poor study design, broad inclusion criteria, low patient numbers and industry involvement.Based on low certainty evidence, thrombolytic therapy may restore catheter function when compared to placebo (149 participants: RR 4.05, 95% CI 1.42 to 11.56) but there is no data available to suggest an optimal dose or administration method. The certainty of this evidence is reduced due to the fact that it is based on only a single study with wide confidence limits, high risk of bias and imprecision in the estimates of adverse events (149 participants: RR 2.03, 95% CI 0.38 to 10.73).Based on the available evidence, physical disruption of a fibrin sheath using interventional radiology techniques appears to be equally efficacious as the use of a pharmaceutical thrombolytic agent for the immediate management of dysfunctional catheters (57 participants: RR 0.92, 95% CI 0.80 to 1.07).Catheter patency is poor following use of thrombolytic agents with studies reporting median catheter survival rates of 14 to 42 days and was reported to improve significantly by fibrin sheath stripping or catheter exchange (37 participants: MD -27.70 days, 95% CI -51.00 to -4.40). Catheter exchange was reported to be superior to sheath disruption with respect to catheter survival (30 participants: MD 213.00 days, 95% CI 205.70 to 220.30).There is insufficient evidence to suggest any specific intervention is superior in terms of ensuring either dialysis adequacy or reduced risk of adverse events. Thrombolysis, fibrin sheath disruption and over-the-wire catheter exchange are effective and appropriate therapies for immediately restoring catheter patency in dysfunctional cuffed and tunnelled HD catheters. On current data there is no evidence to support physical intervention over the use of pharmaceutical agents in the acute setting. Pharmacological interventions appear to have a bridging role and long-term catheter survival may be improved by fibrin sheath disruption and is probably superior following catheter exchange. There is no evidence favouring any of these approaches with respect to dialysis adequacy or risk of adverse events.The current review is limited by the small number of available studies with limited numbers of patients enrolled. Most of the studies included in this review were judged to have a high risk of bias and were potentially influenced by pharmaceutical industry involvement.Further research is required to adequately address the question of the most efficacious and clinically appropriate technique for HD catheter dysfunction.

Twitter Demographics

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 19 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.
Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 168 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 168 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 23 14%
Student > Bachelor 22 13%
Researcher 20 12%
Other 12 7%
Student > Ph. D. Student 11 7%
Other 33 20%
Unknown 47 28%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 69 41%
Nursing and Health Professions 20 12%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 4 2%
Engineering 4 2%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 3 2%
Other 17 10%
Unknown 51 30%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 19. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 25 April 2023.
All research outputs
of 24,137,933 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,844 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 331,791 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 277 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 24,137,933 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 92nd percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,844 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 33.9. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 69% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 331,791 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 89% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 277 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 63% of its contemporaries.