Catheter-related thrombosis in critically ill children: comparison of catheters with and without heparin bonding

J Pediatr. 1995 Jan;126(1):50-4. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(95)70499-x.


Objective: To compare the incidence of and factors associated with vascular thrombosis after placement of heparin-bonded and standard femoral venous catheters.

Design: Prospective, masked, clinical study.

Setting: Multidisciplinary, tertiary, pediatric intensive care unit.

Patients: Consecutive cases (n = 50) of critically ill children admitted to a pediatric intensive care unit in whom either a heparin-bonded (n = 25) or a standard (n = 25) femoral venous catheter was placed.

Measurements and main results: Patients were examined by ultrasonography within 3 days of catheter insertion, weekly while the catheter was in place, and after catheter removal for evidence of vascular thrombosis. Data were collected prospectively regarding clinical evidence of catheter thrombosis, infusate composition, and positive blood culture results. Of 50 patients, 13 (26%) had thrombotic complications, 11 (44%) of the 25 patients in the standard-catheter group, in comparison with 2 (8%) of the 25 patients in the heparin-bonded catheter group (p = 0.004). In addition, there was a significantly higher incidence of positive blood culture results among patients in the standard-catheter group (24% vs 0%; p = 0.009). Positive catheter blood culture results were obtained in 38% of patients with thrombosis versus 3% without thrombosis (p = 0.001). Clinical evidence of thrombosis was found in 69% of patients with, versus 27% of patients without, ultrasound-proved thrombosis (p = 0.007).

Conclusion: Heparin bonding of catheters is associated with significantly fewer thrombotic complications. A reduced incidence of positive catheter-related blood culture results may be associated with the absence of thrombosis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Catheterization, Central Venous
  • Catheterization, Peripheral / adverse effects
  • Catheterization, Peripheral / methods*
  • Catheters, Indwelling / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Femoral Vein
  • Heparin*
  • Humans
  • Iliac Vein / diagnostic imaging
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric
  • Prospective Studies
  • Thrombophlebitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Thrombophlebitis / epidemiology*
  • Thrombophlebitis / prevention & control
  • Ultrasonography
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / diagnostic imaging
  • Washington / epidemiology


  • Heparin