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Removal of embedded central venous catheters.

BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: Long-term central venous access devices (CVAD) play an integral role in the management of children who require nutritional support, chemotherapy, blood drawing, and transfusion of blood products. Infrequently, the CVAD may be difficult or impossible to remove with traction.

PATIENT POPULATION: Four patients, with ages ranging from 6 to 13 years, had 4 CVAD in place for 431, 730, 2232, and 3285 days which could not be removed by manual traction and local exploration.

RESULTS: With the use of technology developed for removal of embedded transvenous pacemaker catheters, each CVAD was successfully dislodged using a lead locking device (n = 3) or a lead locking device and an excimer laser (n = 1). There were no complications of the procedure in our series.

CONCLUSIONS: There is no consensus on optimal management of embedded CVADs. In this small series, devices used routinely to remove embedded transvenous pacemaker wires were used to extract 4 embedded CVADs without complication; however, use of this technology in pediatric surgical patients is controversial because a small percentage of adult cases have resulted in tamponade or hemothorax, potentially resulting in death. Selection of patients and use of the technology in the appropriate setting are important considerations in weighing the risks vs the benefits of extracting such catheters or leaving them in place.

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