Background: The use of noncuffed nontunneled central venous catheters is a widely accepted method of gaining temporary vascular access for hemodialysis. Malfunction and bacteremia are the main factors limiting catheter survival. Methods: We followed up prospectively 73 hemodialysis catheters (HC) (40 internal jugular, 33 femoral) in order to establish factors influencing HC malfunction. HC malfunction was defined as a catheter that was unable to attain and maintain blood flows of at least 150 ml/min. 73 HC were used for a total 1,100 days. Results: HC malfunction occurred in 23 cases (31.51%) during the study period, giving an overall rate of 21 episodes per 1,000 catheter days at risk. An analysis revealed a higher risk of HC malfunction with the catheterization of the femoral vein compared to the internal jugular vein (hazard ratio (HR) 6.3; 95% confidence interval (CI) 5.3–7.3). After correction for confounding factors in multivariate Cox analysis, the site of the catheterization remained a statistically significant predictor of HC malfunction (HR 5.03, 95% CI 3.83–6.23). After the first week malfunction rate was 42 and 8% for femoral and internal jugular site, respectively (relative risk (RR) for malfunction 5.3 (95% CI, 2.5–8). After the second and third week, the incidence of malfunction was 51 and 14% for femoral and internal jugular vein, respectively (RR 3.6, 95% CI 2.2–5.1). Conclusions: Catheterization of the internal jugular vein is associated with longer catheter survival when compared to the femoral vein. Hemodialysis catheters should be placed, if possible, in internal jugular vein to prevent their premature malfunction.