Identifying and reducing early complications of central lines in infants and toddlers

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“The purpose of this study was to review outcomes associated with CVC insertion in this high-risk group and compare them to those in older children to develop directed quality improvement projects.” Fallon et al (2014).

Reference:

Fallon, S.C., Kim, M.E., Fernandes, C.J., Vasudevan, S.A., Nuchtern, J.G. and Kim E.S. (2014) Identifying and reducing early complications of surgical central lines in infants and toddlers. The Journal of Surgical Research April 13th. [epub ahead of print].

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Hospitalized infants >1 y old often require central venous catheters (CVC) for prolonged therapy. There are limited data describing the complication profile for this young population. The purpose of this study was to review outcomes associated with CVC insertion in this high-risk group and compare them to those in older children to develop directed quality improvement projects.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients receiving their first CVC, a tunneled central line or port-a-cath, from 2007-2010 were included. Femoral, non-tunneled, and hemodialysis catheters were excluded. Patients aged 0-12.0 mo (infants) were compared with those 12.1-36 mo (toddlers). Complications (<30 d) included infection, malposition, malfunction, intraoperative, and the need for operative exchange. Statistical analysis included Student t-test, chi-square, and a Kaplan-Meier survival analysis.

RESULTS: We identified 115 infants and 129 toddlers who underwent CVC insertion during the study period. Complication rates were higher in the infant group than in the toddler group, as was the operative exchange rate. Higher infection rates in the infant group appeared to contribute to the difference in early complications and exchange rates. A survival analysis indicated improved catheter duration in toddlers (P = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: In this cohort study, infants had a higher early complication rate, mostly attributable to infection, than their older counterparts. This difference could be explained by increased use of a tunneled central line for daily total parented nutrition in infants with gastrointestinal anomalies, as opposed to port-a-cath for chemotherapy infusion in older children. These data have prompted a number of targeted quality improvement initiatives to address relevant complications in this infant population.

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