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Mechanical Integrity of Hemodialysis Catheters after Exposure to a Novel Catheter Lock Solution

  • Saima Aslam (a1) and Rabih O. Darouiche (a1)



To examine the mechanical integrity of hemodialysis catheters after exposure to the combination of N-acetylcysteine, ti-gecycline, and heparin, compared with that of catheters exposed to heparin alone.


We used 3 types of hemodialysis catheters: polyurethane, silicone, and carbothane catheters. Catheter segments were incubated in vitro for various time intervals of up to 2 weeks either in a novel catheter lock solution (novel CLS), which consisted of N-acetylcysteine, tigecycline, and heparin, or in heparin alone (as a control). At the time of testing, each segment was rinsed and cut longitudinally into 2 sections. All catheter sections were scanned using an optical dissecting microscope to check for surface abnormalities and to measure wall thickness. We also carried out tensile strength testing of another set of catheters using a universal testing machine. Tested parameters included stress at yield, strain at yield, stress at break, strain at break, modulus of elasticity, and force at break.


The surfaces of catheters in both groups appeared similar by microscopy. The mean thickness of the catheter wall was not significantly different for the catheters exposed to the novel CLS and the catheters exposed to heparin (P >.05). Results for most of the tensile strength parameters tested were similar in the 2 groups of catheters at the end of 2 weeks of incubation. In particular, the force-at-break value of all tested catheters remained much greater than that recommended by industry standards.


The use of the novel catheter lock solution did not impair the mechanical integrity or increase the propensity for fracture of hemodialysis catheters.


Corresponding author

Section of Infectious Diseases, Room 4B-370, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 2002 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX (


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