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BMJ. 1998 Mar 28;316(7136):969-75.

Benefit of heparin in peripheral venous and arterial catheters: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the effect of heparin on duration of catheter patency and on prevention of complications associated with use of peripheral venous and arterial catheters.

DESIGN:

Critical appraisal and meta-analysis of 26 randomised controlled trials that evaluated infusion of heparin intermittently or continuously. Thirteen trials of peripheral venous catheters and two of peripheral arterial catheters met criteria for inclusion.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Data on the populations, interventions, outcomes, and methodological quality.

RESULTS:

For peripheral venous catheters locked between use flushing with 10 U/ml of heparin instead of normal saline did not reduce the incidence of catheter clotting and phlebitis or improve catheter patency. When heparin was given as a continuous infusion at 1 U/ml the risk of phlebitis decreased (relative risk 0.55; 95% confidence interval 0.39 to 0.77), the duration of patency increased, and infusion failure was reduced (0.88; 0.72 to 1.07). Heparin significantly prolonged duration of patency of radial artery catheters and decreased the risk of clot formation (0.51; 0.42 to 0.61).

CONCLUSIONS:

Use of intermittent heparin flushes at doses of 10 U/ml in peripheral venous catheters locked between use had no benefit over normal saline flush. Infusion of low dose heparin through a peripheral arterial catheter prolonged the duration of patency but further study is needed to establish its benefit for peripheral venous catheters.

PMID:
9550955
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC28499
Free PMC Article
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