The recent proliferation in deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in pediatric patients has been attributed to the improved care of children with serious and life-threatening disorders as well as the prolonged survival of children with chronic disease. Often such treatment involves the insertion of central venous catheters. Yet the incidence of DVT associated with peripherally-inserted central catheters (PICC) and tunneled Lines (TL) has not been investigated in depth. Thus we report a retrospective database study to determine the incidence of DVT in pediatric patients with PICC and TL lines.
Children <18 years of age who were admitted to Children's Hospital Los Angeles from January 1, 2003- December 31, 2009 were eligible for inclusion. Data were extracted from the CHLA hospital discharge database which includes data on all procedures and up to 20 diagnoses per admission. Diagnoses and procedures were identified by International Classification of Disease, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) coding in the hospital discharge database. PICC codes used were: 365.69 and TL codes used were: 365.57, 365.58, 365.60, 365.61, 365.63, 365.65, 365.66. DVT codes were: 415.11, 415.12, 415.19, 452, 453.0, 453.1, 453.3, 453.41, 453.42, 453.8, 453.9. Patient diagnoses other than DVT were grouped according to ICD. 9 coding into categories termed Complex Chronic Conditions (CCC) as previously described. To ensure that the DVT event was related to the individual line insertion, patients were excluded if their lines were placed after three days of hospital admissions and if they received more than one line or more than one type of line. A limitation of the data is the lack of information regarding the length of time the catheters remained in place.
Over the 6 year period of this study, 1449 eligible subjects were identified of whom 29 had DVTs (2%). There were 947 PICC insertions and 502 TL insertions. The mean age of PICC patients was 12±4 years and 56% were male. The mean age of TL patients was 8±6 years and 54% were male. There were 9 (0.95%) DVTs in PICC patients, and 20 (3.9%) DVTs in TL patients. The odds ratio for developing a DVT with a TL was 3.6 (p-value.002; confidence interval 1.6–8.1) which remained significant at 3.8 (p=.001; confidence value 1.7–8.55) when controlling for the presence of CCCs.
Despite the proliferation in the utilization of PICC in recent years, it appears that they are not associated with a higher risk for DVT than TL, and in fact, the data from this study suggests that TL were associated with more DVT than PICC. Although it is possible that the results could be explained by the fact that TL in general remain in place for a longer period of time than PICC, this study nonetheless provides important reassurance that PICC appear to have relatively low thrombotic potential when compared to TL.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.