Indwelling central venous catheters (CVC) are essential devices in the management of children with oncological/haematological diseases being treated with chemotherapy or undergoing bone marrow transplantation. Our study was aimed at detecting the incidence of important thrombotic events caused by CVC in children, and the coexistence of coagulation disorders in children affected with thromboembolic disease related to CVC. Therefore, we describe some antithrombotic strategies which have been successfully applied to solve functioning problems of correctly inserted CVC. We retrospectively evaluated the clinical records of 308 children (age range 2 months to 14 years) with oncological/haematological diseases undergoing insertion of 362 indwelling CVC from January 1994 to December 1998 at the Gaslini Children's Hospital. We collected data on seven serious asymptomatic thrombotic episodes diagnosed between 1994 and 1998 following catheter malfunctioning and one case of suspected lung embolism with symptoms. Coagulation tests allowed us to identify one case of probable heterozygosis of Protein C deficiency and one case of G20210A prothrombotic prothrombin mutation. This finding suggests the need for further evaluation for thrombophilia in all patients presenting with thrombotic complications of CVC. We therefore emphasise the importance of prophylaxis with low-dose heparin in children with malignancies receiving CVC. A prospective study, which has already been started, should identify the exact role of thromboembolic complications in children with indwelling CVC for oncological/haematological malignancies.
- Central venous catheters
- Oncological/haematological diseases
- Paediatric patients
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