Role of Broviac catheters in infections in children with cancer

C. Viscoli, A. Garaventa, L. Boni, A. Melodia, G. Dini, R. Cuneo, A. Rizzo, C. Moroni, D. Rogers, B. De Bernardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In a 3-year period 157 single lumen Broviac catheters were inserted in 145 children with various neoplastic diseases. The overall duration of the catheter courses was 30,533 days (median, 171; range, 2 to 647). Sixty-five percent of the catheter courses (102 of 157) were complicated by at least 1 febrile episode, for a total of 157 episodes. According to European Organization for Research on Treatment of Cancer criteria, 79 febrile episodes (50%) were classified as microbiologically documented infections, 57 (36%) with and 22 (14%) without septicemia; 31 (20%) as clinically documented infections; and 47 (30%) as possible infections. Of the 79 microbiologically documented infections 21 were catheter-related infections (CRI), 32 were catheter-unrelated infections and 26 were infections of unknown source. Only 48% of CRI occurred during neutropenia (3), compared with 88% of catheter-unrelated infections and 96% of infections of unknown origin (P = 0.00007). Gram-positive microorganisms (56% staphylococci) accounted for 78% of all isolates in CRI, 47% in catheter-unrelated infections and 43% in infections of unknown origins (P = 0.03). Fungi represented 12% of all isolates. Clinical and microbiologic resolution without removal of the catheter was achieved in 12 of 21 CRI (57%) and no patient died from a CRI. This study indicates that over 3 of 4 of CRI are caused by Gram-positive bacteria, occur in neutropenic and non-neutropenic patients (~50%) and can be successfully treated without removing the catheter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-560
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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