Background and objectives: Despite widespread use of tunneled hemodialysis (HD) catheters, their utility is limited by the development of thrombotic complications. To address this problem, this study investigated whether the thrombolytic agent tenecteplase can restore blood flow rates (BFRs) in dysfunctional HD catheters.
Design, setting, participants, & measurements: In this randomized, double-blind study, patients with dysfunctional tunneled HD catheters, defined as a BFR <300 ml/min at −250 mmHg pressure in the arterial line, received 1-hour intracatheter dwell with tenecteplase (2 mg) or placebo. The primary endpoint was the percentage of patients with BFR ≥300 ml/min and an increase of ≥25 ml/min above baseline 30 minutes before and at the end of HD. Safety endpoints included the incidence of hemorrhagic, thrombotic, and infectious complications.
Results: Eligible patients (n = 149) were treated with tenecteplase (n = 74) or placebo (n = 75). Mean baseline BFR was similar for the tenecteplase and placebo groups at 151 and 137 ml/min, respectively. After a 1-hour dwell, 22% of patients in the tenecteplase group had functional catheters compared with 5% among placebo controls (P = 0.004). At the end of dialysis, mean change in BFR was 47 ml/min in the tenecteplase group versus 12 ml/min in the placebo group (P = 0.008). Four catheter-related bloodstream infections (one tenecteplase, three placebo) and one thrombosis (tenecteplase) were observed. There were no reports of intracranial hemorrhage, major bleeding, embolic events, or catheter-related complications.
Conclusions: Tenecteplase improved HD catheter function and had a favorable safety profile compared with placebo.