Intracranial entrapment of a haemodialysis catheter guidewire

Natasha Hemicke Langer, Lars Hein, Morten Heiberg Bestle


A 49-year-old man with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was hospitalised due to pneumonia and pulmonary embolisms. After subsequently developing septic shock and acute renal failure, he required dialysis. A haemodialysis catheter was planned inserted into the right subclavian vein, the guidewire was introduced using the Seldinger technique. When the guidewire's 20 cm marker entered the introducer needle, it suddenly encountered resistance. Repeated attempts to remove the guidewire failed. Vital signs and haemodynamic parameters remained unchanged throughout the procedure. CT angiography revealed cranial displacement of the wire into the right internal jugular vein, with the tip of the wire just cranial to the jugular foramen in the right sigmoid sinus. Interventional radiological removal attempts were unsuccessful. Thoracic and neurosurgical interventions were considered impossible and the guidewire was left in place. Due to the pulmonary embolism and the foreign object in the patient, life-long anticoagulation was considered, with close monitoring of compliance with the patient's comorbidity and medication.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Case Reports
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)e232535
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2020


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