Use of heparin-coated central venous lines to prevent catheter-related bloodstream infection

J Support Oncol. 2007 Jun;5(6):273-8.


Bloodstream infections related to the use of central venous catheters are an important cause of patient morbidity, mortality, and increased health care costs. Catheter-related infection may be due to fibrin deposition associated with catheters. Interventions designed to decrease fibrin deposition have the potential to reduce catheter-related infections. This study was a randomized, controlled trial in which 246 patients with nontunneled central venous catheters were randomly assigned to receive a heparin-coated catheter with 50 mL/d of normal saline solution as a continuous infusion (heparin-coated group) or a noncoated catheter with a continuous infusion of low-dose unfractionated heparin (control group: continuous infusion of 100 U/kg/d). Catheter-related bloodstream infection occurred in 2.5% (3/120 catheters) in the heparin-coated group (0.9 events per 1,000 days) and in 9.1% (11/120 catheters) in the control group (3.5 events per 1,000 days; P = 0.027). No other risk factors were found for the development of catheter-related bloodstream infection. Six and seven patients experienced severe bleeding in the heparin-coated and control groups, respectively (P = 1.00). We did not observe heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. The use of heparin-coated catheters can be a safe and effective approach to the prevention of catheter-related bloodstream infection in patients with hematooncologic disease.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / therapeutic use
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects*
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / instrumentation*
  • Catheters, Indwelling / adverse effects*
  • Catheters, Indwelling / microbiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / therapeutic use*
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Heparin, Low-Molecular-Weight / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sepsis / etiology
  • Sepsis / prevention & control*


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Anticoagulants
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible
  • Heparin, Low-Molecular-Weight