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Am J Hematol. 2002 Feb;69(2):103-8.

Central venous catheter complications in sickle cell disease.

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Department of Hematology and Oncology, Children's Hospital Oakland, Oakland, California, USA.


A review of patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) and central venous catheters (CVCs) was performed to evaluate the frequency of catheter complications (infections, thrombotic events, and premature CVC removal. Fifteen evaluable patients were identified during our review of a 7.5-year period. The median age was 18 years (range, 1.5-30 years); 14 were African American, and 1 was Latino; 5 were male, and 10 were female. Forty-one CVCs were placed (36 Mediport and 5 Broviac catheters) for a total of 12,120 CVC days. We observed a median of 2 CVCs per patient (range, 1-8 CVCs per patient) with 67 discrete episodes of CVC-associated infection (range, 0-18 per patient) involving 10 patients. The rate of CVC-associated infection for patients with SCD at our institution was 5.5 infections per 1,000 CVC days; this rate was significantly higher than the rate of CVC-associated infection in our patients with cancer (P < 0.001). We also determined that the rate of CVC-associated thrombosis was 0.99 events per 1,000 CVC days and involved 33% of the patients with SCD; the rate of premature CVC removal was 3.15 per 1,000 CVC days, and 78% of CVCs were removed prematurely. We conclude that patients with SCD are at high risk for CVC-related complications, and improved care and close monitoring of CVCs should be encouraged to decrease morbidity in these chronically ill patients.

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