• Dialysis;
  • catheter;
  • infection


Current literature suggests that side holes may be detrimental to dialysis catheter performance. Today, these catheters are primarily available with side holes. The purpose of this study was to compare flow rates, infection rate, and survival of side hole vs. non side hole hemodialysis catheters. Over a 16-month period patients were arbitrarily assigned to either a 14.5 F MAHURKAR® MAXID™ cuffed dual lumen tunneled catheter with side holes or a 14.5 F MAHURKAR MAXID cuffed dual lumen tunneled catheter without side holes (“non side hole catheters”). We performed a retrospective analysis of catheter flow rates, patency, catheter survival, and catheter-related infections. Information was gathered for the life of the catheter or up to 28 weeks. A total of 54 patients were enrolled in the study. Thirty-seven of 54 (68%) patients received a catheter with side holes for a total of 3,930 catheter days and 17/54 (32%) received a similar catheter without side holes for a total of 2,188 catheter days. Catheter infection necessitating removal of the catheter occurred in 10/37 catheters with side holes and 1/17 without side holes. Infection rates per 1,000 catheter days were 2.545 with side holes and 0.254 without side holes (p<0.001). Slightly improved catheter survival (p<0.05) was recorded with the non side hole catheters. No insertion complication (e.g., air embolization, bleeding, or kinking) occurred with either catheter. One catheter without side holes had to be repositioned 5 days after insertion because of poor flows. No significant difference was recorded in mean blood flow rates between the catheters. Results indicate reduced catheter infection rate in hemodialysis patients with the use of non side hole dual lumen tunneled cuffed catheters.