Background: Central venous lines (CVLs) are frequently associated with deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in children; however, little is known about the epidemiologic characteristics or outcome of CVL-related DVT.
Methods: The Canadian Childhood Thrombophilia Registry monitored 244 consecutive patients with objectively diagnosed CVL-related DVT for a median duration of 24 months (range 3 months to 7 years).
Results: The incidence of CVL-related DVT was 3.5 per 10,000 hospital admissions. CVL-related DVTs were more frequent in the upper venous system. Ultrasonography or echocardiography were the most commonly used diagnostic tests (n = 183 patients). Venograms were performed on 82 (34%) patients. A variety of therapies were used. Thirty-nine children had pulmonary emboli, but most were not investigated for pulmonary emboli. Nine (3.7%) children died as a consequence of their thromboembolic disease. Recurrent DVT occurred in 16 (6.5%) children, and postphlebitic syndrome occurred in 23 (9.5%) children.
Conclusion: Currently no uniform guidelines exist for the prevention and management of CVL-related DVT in children. The frequency and clinical consequences of CVL-related DVTs justify controlled trials of primary prophylaxis in children requiring central venous access.