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J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2003 Nov;25(11):864-7.

Safety, dose, and timing of reteplase in treating occluded central venous catheters in children with cancer.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacy, Primary Children's Medical Center, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, USA.



Recombinant tissue plasminogen activator, alteplase, began to be commonly used to restore the patency of occluded central venous catheters (CVCs) as urokinase production was halted in the late 1990s. However, alteplase often requires an extended dwell time to restore patency to occluded CVCs. In adults, reteplase, a newer thrombolytic agent, has been reported to restore patency to CVCs in 30 minutes. The authors prospectively evaluated the safety and efficacy of reteplase in restoring patency to occluded CVCs in children with cancer.


This was a dose escalation trial. The dose of reteplase was initiated at 0.1 units and increased by increments of 0.1 units to a maximum dose of 0.4 units. Each dose was tested on at least three participants. Time to patency after reteplase administration was recorded by nurses caring for the patients. Attempts to access the line occurred every 15 minutes for 1 hour. CVCs that remained occluded after 1 hour were treated with alteplase.


Reteplase was administered to 15 clotted CVCs. Twelve of the 15 were cleared with an average dwell time of 38 minutes. The time to patency did not appear to correlate with the dose. No adverse events were reported.


Reteplase can restore patency to occluded CVCs in a pediatric population. Reteplase appears to have comparable efficacy with alteplase, but reteplase may require shorter dwell times. A prospective, randomized, clinical trial is warranted to determine whether reteplase is as effective as alteplase in restoring patency to occluded CVCs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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