Catheter-related thrombosis: lifeline or a pain in the neck?
Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2012;2012:638-44
Authors: Kamphuisen PW, Lee AY
Central venous catheters (CVCs) are used extensively in cancer patients for the administration of therapy and phlebotomy. An important complication of CVCs is the development of catheter-related thrombosis (CRT), which becomes symptomatic in approximately 5% of the patients. Several factors, such as insertion location and position of the catheter tip, increase the risk of CRT. Prevention of CRT with systemic anticoagulant prophylaxis has largely been ineffective. In addition, the optimal diagnostic strategy and anticoagulant treatment are unclear due to the lack of well-designed studies. The most recent American College of Chest Physicians guidelines recommend (color) Doppler ultrasound more than venography as the initial diagnostic test in patients with suspected arm thrombosis. Only if the ultrasound is negative and clinical suspicion is high is further testing with D-dimer, serial ultrasound, or venography advocated. In case of CRT, removal of the catheter is not necessary if it is functional and needed for chemotherapy. Anticoagulant treatment of CRT consists of treatment with low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) followed by vitamin K antagonists for at least 3 months. Whether long-term treatment with LMWH is more effective than vitamin K antagonists in cancer patients with CRT is unknown, but LMWH may be advocated following the recommendations in lower limb thrombosis and cancer. In addition, the effect of new anticoagulants in CRT has not been studied.
PMID: 23233646 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]