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Leuk Lymphoma. 2003 Sep;44(9):1495-501.

Central venous catheter-related complications in patients with hematological malignancies: a retrospective analysis of risk factors and prophylactic measures.

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  • 1Department of Hematology, IRCCS Maggiore Hospital and University of Milan, Milan, Italy.


We retrospectively analyzed the incidence of thrombotic and infectious complications in relation with the use of central venous catheters (CVCs), in a series of patients with hematological malignancies and low platelet and leucocyte counts.


126 patients with hematological malignancies were analyzed. A total of 207 CVCs were implanted: 137 centrally (CICCs) and 70 peripherally (PICCs). The median duration of the CVCs was 19 days for a total of 4051 catheter-days. Antithrombotic prophylaxis was unfractionated heparin (UFH), 2,500 IU daily by 24 h continuous infusion in 169 CVCs, low molecular weight heparin (LMWH), 3,800 IU daily by single bolus intravenous injection (i.v.) in 21 and warfarin in one. No prophylaxis was given in 16 CVCs. Thrombotic complications developed in 15.5% of the CVCs (7.9 events/1000 catheter days), and the frequency of infectious complications was 10.6% (5.2 events/1000 catheter days). On multivariate analysis thromboses were more frequent and earlier with PICCs than CICCs (p = 0.0001), and in patients on UFH (16.6%) than in LMWH prophylaxis (4.7%), but the last difference was not statistically significant. In conclusions the incidence of thrombotic complications in our series was comparable to that observed in non-thrombocytopenic patients and was significantly higher in those carrying PICC than CICC (p = 0.0001). There were fewer thrombotic events in the patients receiving i.v. LMWH prophylaxis than in those receiving i.v. UFH. The use of anticoagulants was safe and not associated with hemorrhages.

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