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Clin Nutr. 1994 Dec;13(6):356-60.

Catheter thrombosis and superior/inferior vena cava syndrome are rare complications of long term parenteral nutrition.

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Section of Gastroenterology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.


The objective of this study was to determine the incidence of catheter thrombosis and superior/inferior vena cava (SVC IVC ) syndrome in a large population of patients receiving home total parenteral nutrition (TPN), using retrospective data collection and analysis. 527 patients including 138 children who were discharged on home TPN and followed in the UCLA home TPN program for a minimum of one week between April, 1973 and October, 1991. There was a total of 1154 years of patients follow-up, including 241 years in children. Fifty-seven patients (11%) developed 81 episodes of catheter thrombosis excluding SVC IVC syndrome with an incidence of 0.07 episodes per catheter year. The median catheter duration prior to thrombosis was 7 months. Twenty-one thromboses occured in children with an incidence of 0.09 per catheter year. Eleven percent of thrombotic episodes were associated with catheter sepsis. Thirty-nine percent of patients had a PTT less than control values. Twenty-two patients including 6 children developed SVC IVC syndrome with an incidence of 0.02 per catheter year. SVC IVC syndrome was not associated with catheter sepsis in any patient. Sixty-eight percent of patients had catheter thrombosis at some point prior to developing SVC IVC syndrome. It is concluded that catheter-related thrombotic events are rare complications of home TPN and are uncommonly associated with infection. However, we recommend warfarin anticoagulation following an initial thrombotic event, in the absence of catheter malposition, for all such patients as long as they maintain a central venous catheter.

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