To assess the risk of deep vein thrombosis in haemophiliacs with long-term central venous catheters, we studied haemophiliacs followed at our centre with implantable venous access devices (ports) in place for > 6 months. Medical records were reviewed for a history of catheter-related complications. Each patient was examined for physical stigmata of thrombosis. Patency of the vessels was evaluated by contrast venography. Of 21 males with ports, 19 had factor VIII deficiency and two factor IX deficiency. Nineteen ports were evaluable (i.e. were in place for > 6 months). Seventeen patients have their original ports in place; two ports were replaced for mechanical dysfunction (1) and recurrent infection (1). Difficulty withdrawing or infusing occurred with three ports, two of which were cleared with urokinase. Physical examination was normal on all 19 patients. Venograms were performed in 13 of 19 patients. Parents of the remaining six patients refused venography because of the need for peripheral venipuncture. One patient had a small nonocclusive thrombus on the same side as his functioning catheter, and another had minimal narrowing of the subclavian vein at the site of a prior catheter. The overall prevalence of clinically relevant upper venous system thrombosis identifiable by contrast venography was zero (95% CI, 0-23%). We conclude that haemophiliacs do not have as high a risk of thrombosis as other populations of patients with central venous catheters. The theoretical risk of thrombosis should not preclude use of central venous catheters in patients with haemophilia.
- Central venous catheters
- Implantable venous access devices
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