Comparison of vascular access devices in Leukemia


Intravenous literature: Kaff, E.R., Doucette, S., McDiarmid, S., Huebsch, L. and Sabloff, M. (2011) Vascular Access Devices in Leukemia: A Retrospective Review amongst Patients Treated at the Ottawa Hospital with Induction Chemotherapy for Acute Leukemia. Leukemia & Lymphoma. 2011 Nov 14.


Patients with acute leukemia require reliable central vascular access to ensure delivery of intravenous therapy. Peripherally inserted central catheters (PICC) and Hickman(?) catheters are two commonly inserted central vascular catheters (CVCs), providing access to the central vascular space. While there have been reports describing individual centre experiences, no one has compared the two devices, retrospectively or prospectively. We analyzed patients diagnosed with acute leukemia between September 1996 and April 2009, who had a PICC or Hickman(?), received induction chemotherapy, and survived at least 20 days. Prior to January 1st 2007, PICCs were inserted by palpation (PICC-palp) and Hickman(?) catheters were inserted surgically (H-Surg). After this date, PICCs were inserted by ultrasound (PICC-U/S) and Hickman(?) catheters were inserted by interventional radiology (H-IR). Fifty-five patients had a Hickman(?) catheter (18 H-Surg, 37 H-IR) and 92 patients had a PICC (69 PICC-palp, 23 PICC-U/S). Significant Improvements from H-Surg to H-IR catheters include the reduction in exit-site inflammation and infection (27.8% to 5.4%) and in bacteremic episodes (72.2% to 27.0%). Compared to PICC-U/S, H-IR had fewer cases of thrombophlebitis (0.0% vs. 8.7%); H-IR also required fewer instillations of a thrombolytic agent than the PICC-U/S (8.1% vs. 69.6%). Both CVCs have shown improvements from pre- to post- 2007 insertion methods. Our data suggested that there were fewer complications with post-2007 Hickman(?) catheters compared to PICCs, suggesting that Hickman(?) catheters provide a more reliable central vascular access in these patients.

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