Central venous catheters (CVCs) are the most frequent cause of thrombosis in acutely unwell neonates. The natural history CVC-RT remains unclear. The current guideline for symptomatic CVC-related thrombus suggests that anticoagulation likely leads to minimizing complications while the recommendation for pediatric patients with asymptomatic deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is equivocal.


This systematic review was undertaken to summarize evidence from the pediatric literature on the prevalence of asymptomatic CVC-RT in the neonate and whether anticoagulation therapy (ACT) improves the outcomes of asymptomatic CVC-RT in the neonate.


We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, the Web of Science, and clinical trial databases. We considered data from retrospective and prospective cohort studies, case series, and randomized controlled studies evaluating the prevalence and outcomes of CVC-RT following the use or non-use of ACT. Data were analyzed using Fisher exact and Chi-square statistics.


In total 762 articles were identified and screened, of which 16 articles included (1 RCT, 4 prospective studies and 8 retrospective cohort studies, and 3 case reports) that met inclusion criteria and contained extracted case data; these studies reported on a total of 1909 neonates with CVC have been screened for thrombosis. All studies were considered at moderate or high risk of bias. Tau2 and I2 suggested a high degree of heterogeneity. Ultimately, 309 cases were identified with the prevalence of asymptomatic CVC-RT was 16%. Notably, only 6.5% of neonates with symptomatic CVC-RT had undergone ultrasound (US) screening. The majority of the cases were premature neonates. 45% of the neonate had Umbilical Vein Catcher (UVC). 114 (41%) of the cases received ACT, of which none complicated with major bleeding. Overall there was no difference following the use or nonuse of ACT in patency of the asymptomatic CVC-RT, recurrence, and thrombosis related mortality. The frequency of each outcome according to therapy is shown in Table1.


This systematic review has provided additional evidence supporting the favorable outcome of asymptomatic CVC-RT in the neonate regardless of the use of ACT. Further well-designed, prospective, multi-center clinical trials are needed to establish evidence-based treatment recommendations for neonates with asymptomatic CVC-RT.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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