A new, long-term venous access catheter was evaluated in clinical practice and the insertion time, complication rate and prospective follow-up recorded. Fifty novel polyurethane catheters (Cuff-Cath) were inserted in 48 patients, for cytotoxic chemotherapy in 36, long-term total parenteral nutrition in five and miscellaneous indications in seven. All catheters were inserted by a percutaneous technique under local anaesthesia. The mean insertion time was 18 min. There were three insertion complications; failure to cannulate, pneumothorax and malposition. Seven catheters required removal (sepsis in five, subclavian vein thrombosis in two) and one catheter fell out. Total catheter days to date has been 6607 (mean 132, range 18-831 days). Eleven catheters are still in use a mean of 154 days (range 38-490 days) after insertion. Furthermore, a new technique has been described which prevents inadvertent displacement. This new catheter combines the mechanical advantages of polyurethane, together with those of a Dacron cuff. Early results suggest that this catheter may be a useful alternative to silicone catheters of the Hickman/Broviac type for long-term central venous access
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