Transhepatic central venous catheter for long-term access in paediatric patients

Alan Mortell, Hanan Said, Reshma Doodnath, Kevin Walsh, Martin Corbally
Journal of Pediatric Surgery 2008, 43 (2): 344-7
Vascular access in paediatric patients with chronic and/or life-threatening illness is crucial to survival. Access is frequently lost in this group because of thrombosis, infection, or displacement, and vascular options can quickly be exhausted. The last resort access procedure is generally a direct atrial catheter inserted via a thoracotomy. A viable alternative is the percutaneous transhepatic Broviac catheter (Bard Access Systems, Salt Lake City, UT). We retrospectively reviewed the charts of 5 patients who underwent percutaneous transhepatic Broviac insertion for long-term access over a 4-year period in a single institution. Four of the patients (80%) had a significant cardiac abnormality, with 1 patient requiring long-term parenteral nutrition after complicated necrotizing enterocolitis. All patients had significant caval thrombosis, which precluded them having placement of a standard percutaneous or openly placed central catheter. Of the 5 patients, 2 (40%) died of cardiac-related illnesses. Of the 3 surviving patients, 2 had functioning catheters electively removed because they were no longer required. One catheter was removed at thoracotomy for right atrial perforation because of catheter erosion. Vascular access in paediatric patients with chronic and/or life-threatening illness is crucial to survival. Transhepatic central venous catheters are a feasible, reliable, and relatively easily placed form of central access in patients with multiple venous thromboses requiring long-term access. This route should be considered in paediatric patients requiring central access in preference to a thoracotomy.

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