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J Pediatr Surg. 1994 Jun;29(6):742-5.

A prospective randomized double-blind trial of bolus urokinase in the treatment of established Hickman catheter sepsis in children.

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Department of Surgery (Pediatric Surgery), Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021.



The incidence of Hickman catheter sepsis is 10% to 40%, with resultant catheter loss in one third of infections. Urokinase causes dissolution of colonized intracatheter fibrin thrombi and may improve salvage.


To evaluate the efficacy of 12-hour-interval slow-push urokinase infusion in addition to standard antibiotic therapy in the treatment of catheter sepsis in a pediatric oncology population.


A two-arm randomized double-blind trial was undertaken, with catheter salvage rate as the end point. Patients with Hickman catheter sepsis were randomized after culture data confirmed the diagnosis. The study drug was administered by a slow intravenous push and given at 12-hour intervals for a total of four doses. The catheters were aspirated after 1 hour.


The trial was stopped after 41 patients were entered into the study; 18 patients received a placebo, and 23 received the urokinase. In the placebo group, six catheters were lost; in the urokinase group, eight were lost. The rate of bacterial clearance was equivalent for both. After administration of the study drug, each group had three episodes of fever and chills; two of these resulted in hypotension (one in each group). The authors conclude that slow-push urokinase infusion during established Hickman catheter sepsis does not result in improved catheter salvage or bacterial clearance. Slow intravenous push infusions in this setting may provoke hemodynamic instability even after initiation of antibiotics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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