Thrombotic complications in children from short-term percutaneous central venous catheters: What can we do?

Gregory J. Latham, Douglas R. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The reported incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in children has increased dramatically over the past decade, and the primary risk factor for VTE in neonates and infants is the presence of a central venous catheter (CVC). Although the associated morbidity and mortality are significant, very few trials have been conducted in children to guide clinicians in the prophylaxis, diagnosis, and treatment of CVC-related VTE. Furthermore, pediatric guidelines for prophylaxis and management of VTE are largely extrapolated from adult data. How then should the anesthesiologist approach central access in children of different ages to lessen the risk of CVC-related VTE or in children with prior thrombosis and vessel occlusion? A comprehensive review of the pediatric and adult literature is presented with the goal of assisting anesthesiologists with point-of-care decision-making regarding the risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment of CVC-related VTE. Illustrative cases are also provided to highlight decision-making in varying situations. The only risk factor strongly associated with CVC-related VTE formation in children is the duration of the indwelling CVC. Several other factors show a trend toward altering the incidence of CVC-related VTE formation and may be under the control of the anesthesiologist placing and managing the catheter. In particular, because children with VTE may live decades with its sequelae and chronic vein thrombosis, careful consideration of lessening the risk of VTE is warranted in every child. Further studies are needed to form a clearer understanding of the risk factors, prophylaxis, and management of CVC-related VTE in children and to guide the anesthesiologist in lessening the risk of VTE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)902-911
Number of pages10
JournalPaediatric Anaesthesia
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • adolescent
  • adverse effects
  • central venous catheters
  • child
  • infant
  • invasive procedures


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