Background: Central venous catheters in patients with cancer are associated with development of deep vein thrombosis (DVT); however, there is no accepted standard treatment.
Objectives: To assess the safety and effectiveness of a management strategy for central venous catheter-related DVT in cancer patients consisting of dalteparin and warfarin without the need for line removal.
Patients/methods: Patients older than 18 years of age with an active malignancy and who had symptomatic, acute, objectively documented UEDVT were eligible. Patients were treated with dalteparin 200 IU kg(-1) per day for 5-7 days and warfarin with a target International Normalized Ratio of 2.0-3.0. Patients were followed for 3 months for recurrent venous thromboembolism, major hemorrhage and survival of the central venous catheter.
Results: There were 74 patients (48 males). The average age was 58 years. There were no episodes of recurrent venous thromboembolism and three (4%) major bleeds. No lines were removed because of infusion failure or recurrence/extension of DVT.
Conclusion: Treatment of UEDVTs secondary to central catheters in cancer patients with standard dalteparin/warfarin can allow the central line to remain in situ with little risk of line failure or recurrence/extension of the DVT.