Central Vein Stenosis: Current Concepts

  • Anil K. Agarwal
    Address correspondence to Anil K. Agarwal, MD, FACP, FASN, Department of Interventional Nephrology, The Ohio State University, 395 W 12th Avenue, Ground Floor, Columbus, OH 43210.
    Division of Nephrology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
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      Central vein stenosis (CVS) is a common complication of the central venous catheter (CVC) placement. The prevalence of CVS has mostly been studied in those who present with symptoms such as swelling of the extremity, neck and breast. CVS compromises arteriovenous access and can be resistant to treatment. A previous history of CVC placement is the most important risk factor for the development of CVS later. Pacemaker and defibrillator wires are associated with a high incidence of CVS. Increasingly liberal use of peripherally inserted central catheters (PICC) is likely to increase the incidence of CVS. The trauma and inflammation related to the catheter placement is thought to result in microthrombi formation, intimal hyperplasia and fibrotic response, with development of CVS. Treatment of CVS by endovascular procedures involves angioplasty of the stenosis. An elastic or recurrent stenosis may require a stent placement. The long-term benefits of the endovascular procedures, although improved with newer technology, remain modest. Surgical options are usually limited. Future studies to explore the pathogenesis and the use of novel therapies to prevent and treat CVS are needed. The key to reducing the prevalence of CVS is in reducing CVC placement and placement of arteriovenous accesses prior to initiating dialysis. Early referral of the patients to the nephrologists by the primary care physicians is important. Timely vein mapping and referral to the surgeon for fistula creation can obviate the need for a CVC and decrease incidence of CVS.

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