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PURPOSE: To identify clinical incidence, risk factors and treatment of peripherally inserted central venous catheters (PICCs)-related upper extremity venous thrombosis (UEVT) in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective cohort study of breast cancer patients with PICC insertion undergoing chemotherapy. PICC-related UEVT was diagnosed by ultrasound. Patient-, catheter- and insertion-related factors were analyzed in univariable and multivariable logistic regression to identify significant independent risk factors for PICC-related UEVT. The incidence and treatment of PICC-related UEVT were also analyzed.

RESULTS: A total of 568 breast cancer patients with PICC undergoing chemotherapy were included, for a total of 54,769 catheter days; 8 patients (1.4%) developed PICC-related UEVT. The median time of developing UEVT was 11 days (range of 3 to 79 days). In multivariable analysis, metastasis (p = 0.002) and malposition (p = 0.013) were shown to be significant risk factors for PICC-related UEVT. All patients were treated with low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) and followed until PICCs were removed. None of the patients developed pulmonary embolus.

CONCLUSIONS: Metastasis and malposition were significant risk factors for PICC-related UEVT in breast cancer patients. With early diagnosis and standardized anticoagulant treatment, a better clinical outcome could be achieved. Further prospective and large sample studies are needed.


Kang, J., Sun, W., Li, H., Ma, E., Wang, K. and Chen, W. (2015) Peripherally inserted central catheter-related vein thrombosis in breast cancer patients. The Journal of Vascular Access. September 4th. .

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