Efficacy of normal saline solution for locking totally implantable ports

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Intravenous literature: Bertoglio, S., Solari, N., Meszaros, P., Vassallo, F., Bonvento, M., Pastorino, S. and Bruzzi, P. (2012) Efficacy of Normal Saline Versus Heparinized Saline Solution for Locking Catheters of Totally Implantable Long-Term Central Vascular Access Devices in Adult Cancer Patients. Cancer Nursing. Jan 6. [Epub ahead of print].

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Heparin solution is routinely used to maintain the patency of infusion devices. Literature supports the alternative use of normal saline solution for flushing and locking intravenous infusion devices especially for pediatric patients. There is uncertainty regarding safety and efficacy of this policy for intermittent locking of implanted ports.

OBJECTIVE: This study evaluates efficacy and safety of normal saline solution for intermittent locking procedures of implanted ports.

METHODS: This is a retrospective observational cohort study of 610 implanted ports receiving 2 different locking solutions conducted at the National Institute for Cancer Research, IST Genova, Italy, from January 2007 to August 2009. Group A (n = 297) received heparinized solution (10 mL/500 U heparin), whereas group B (n = 313), 10 mL normal saline. Primary endpoint was irreversible port occlusion. Minimum follow-up was 12 months. The role of age, type of tumor, disease stage, access site, access body side, catheter tip position, and concomitant use of parenteral nutrition and chemotherapy was evaluated in secondary aim.

RESULTS: Results fail to show statistically significant differences in implanted ports survival free from failure for occlusive events between the use of heparinized solution and that of normal saline for the maintenance of port patency, both in univariate (P = .9) and in multivariate analyses (P = .7).

CONCLUSION: Normal saline solution seems to be as effective as heparinized solution for keeping patent implanted ports in adult cancer patients.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Switching from heparinized solution to normal saline for catheter intermittent lock of ports seems a safe procedure.

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