Conference Coverage

First-in-kind study parsed risks of central lines in children


AT ASH 2016

– Rising rates of pediatric venous thromboembolism in the United States underscore the need to carefully weigh the risks and benefits of placing central lines, Julie Jaffray, MD, said at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

Peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) are especially likely to lead to deep vein thrombosis in children, said Dr. Jaffray of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California. Children and adolescents who received PICCs had about fourfold the rate of this outcome in the next 6 months as did those who received tunneled lines, based on interim results from her first-in-kind, prospective multicenter observational study.

Dr. Julie Jaffray Amy Karon

Dr. Julie Jaffray

However, tunneled lines were significantly more likely than were PICCs to lead to central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI), Dr. Jaffray noted. She and her associates continue to accrue patients and are planning multivariate analyses to eliminate potential confounders and pinpoint which characteristics of central lines and patient care are leading to thrombosis and infection, she said.

Earlier research has shown that the placement of PICCs approximately doubled at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles between 2005 and 2012, while the use of tunneled lines remained constant at a much-lower rate, Dr. Jaffray noted.

To better understand how central lines contribute to pediatric thrombotic events, she and her associates at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston are studying patients aged 6 months to 18 years who had these devices placed at their centers starting in 2013. To parse out risk factors, the investigators are analyzing numerous relevant keywords from nursing notes and other parts of electronic health records.

As of October 2016, the study included 1,096 patients who received a total of 1,233 central lines related to the treatment of cancer, infection, and other serious conditions. Among 827 PICC recipients, the 6-month cumulative rate of venous thromboembolism was 7.5%. In contrast, only 406 patients received tunneled lines, and only 2% developed venous thromboembolism (P = .004).

But tunneled lines had their own risks. About 16% of recipients developed CLABSI within 6 months, compared with 9% of children who received PICCs (P = .005). The overall rate of CLABSI was 12%, Dr. Jaffray noted.

Thromboses were identified a median of 15 days after PICC placement and 40 days after tunneled line placement, she said. Children with leukemia, other cancers, and congenital heart disease were at significantly increased risk of venous thromboembolism, as were children who received multilumen catheters, she noted.

Ongoing analyses should lead to new guidelines on pediatric catheter selection, insertion techniques, and the prophylactic use of anticoagulation or antiseptics, Dr. Jaffray said. She also is planning a separate study of children younger than 6 months, to examine their unique coagulation systems, she added.

The conclusion at this point is that two-thirds of this cohort received PICCs instead of tunneled lines, and 85% of venous thromboembolism episodes occurred in PICC recipients, Dr. Jaffray emphasized. “Due to their ease of insertion, PICCs are being placed at increasing rates in some pediatric centers, [and] this may be the leading factor for the increasing incidence of pediatric venous thromboembolism,” she commented. “A lot of us pediatric treaters aren’t necessarily giving anticoagulation for an incidental clot, but I think this is something we certainly need to look at. And maybe if we can choose the patients who are at highest risk of VTE, we can consider prophylactic anticoagulation in those kids.”

Dr. Jaffray did not report funding sources and had no relevant financial disclosures.

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