A new subcutaneous device (Dialock™; Biolink Corp., Middleboro, MA) provides vascular access to patients who currently require hemodialysis (HD). The device consists of a port-like valve, implanted subcutaneously below the clavicle, which provides a linear flow passage to two catheters placed in the right atrium via the jugular vein. The valve is accessed percutaneously with needle-cannulas that functionally convert the device to twin catheters for connecting the patient to the HD lines. Interdialytic patency is maintained using a standard heparin lock. The device has been implanted in 10 outpatients under local anesthesia, with almost immediate use for HD (median, 3 days) and has functioned successfully for more than 6 months (mean ± SD, 4.0 ± 1.7; > 400 dialysis sessions). Blood flows over 300 ml/min were consistently achieved (average, 320 ± 50) with venous and arterial pressures of 197 ± 42 mmHgand -241 ± 31 mmHg, respectively. After 40 patient-months, condition of the needle puncture sites remains satisfactory. Four systemic infections have occurred in three patients; all have resolved without the need for device removal. There have been no infections at the puncture sites. One patient whose heparin lock was not changed for 23 days (for reasons unrelated to the device) required fibrin sheath stripping of his catheters. Patient and nurse acceptance has been excellent. The device may offer substantial improvement over conventional devices for HD access.
Copyright © 1998 by the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs