Catheters used by dialysis patients have been tied to higher risks of infections, cardiovascular problems, and death in a new study out of Canada.
The findings, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, suggest more research is urgently needed to determine the safety of different types of blood dialysis procedures for the estimated 1.5 million people worldwide who undergo them.
“Our findings are reflected in current clinical practice guidelines,” said lead researcher Pietro Ravani, M.D., a researcher with the University of Calgary, Canada.
"Better-quality data are needed, but not from studies with the same design as those already available. In fact, our cumulative meta-analysis shows that this information was already available 10 years ago.”
To reach their conclusions, Dr. Ravani and colleagues compared the different types of dialysis by reviewing 67 past medical studies — involving more than 586,000 patients.
The results showed patients who use catheters face substantial increased risks of death, infection, heart attacks, and strokes, compared to those who use other techniques that don’t use catheters.
Other techniques include so-called “arteriovenous fistula” procedures, in which a patient's own vein and artery are used to form a long-lasting site through which blood can be removed and returned.
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