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Dialysis catheters linked to higher death rates

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 4, 2013

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 40,000 hemodialysis patients get bloodstream infections through catheter use each year. A meta-analysis of 67 studies involving nearly 600,000 patients published in February shows that patients who dialyze with catheters have higher mortality rates compared with patients who opt for vascular access through an arteriovenous fistula.

A dialysis catheter is harder to keep clean and free of infection than an AV fistula. Dialysis patients using catheters have a 53% higher mortality risk, 38% higher chance of cardiovascular events and more than double the rate of fatal infections, said the Journal of American Society of Nephrology study (link).

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