During the last years, heparin solution was routinely used to maintain the patency of infusion devices in oncologic patients. Published guidelines recommend the switch from heparin solution to normal saline flushes for maintaining patency of central venous catheters. Different studies report distinct results about occlusions rate since the beginning of this new procedure. This study evaluates efficacy and safety of normal saline solution for intermittent locking procedures of implanted ports.
This is a retrospective observational cohort study of 1273 procedures, which correspond to 211 different ports and patients, analyzed during the first 6 months of implementation of this new method in our clinical cancer center.
A total of 211 patients got their catheter cleaned with normal saline solution approximately every month, with a total of 1273 procedures in the last 6 months. The median age was 60 years old (min. 19; max. 84) and 54% were female. Concerning the diagnosis, 66,8% had digestive cancer, 20,4% breast cancer, 5,2% hematologic disease, 4,3% head and neck cancer, 2,4% gynecologic cancer and 0,9% sarcoma. From digestive cancer, 50% were stage III disease; in breast cancer, 45% were stage II disease; in hematologic cancer, 60,4% were stage IV disease; in head and neck cancer, 78,8% were stage IV disease; in gynecologic cancer and sarcomas, all the patients had metastatic disease. 6,2% of the patients were taking hipocoagulant drugs (due to cardiac arrhythmia or high-risk cancer) and 6,2% were taking antiagregants. Only 6,6% of the catheters did not flow blood and 87,7% of the catheters were placed in right subclavia vein. No patient had presented thromboembolic complication during this time.
Switching from heparinized solution to normal saline for catheter intermittent lock of ports seems to be a safe procedure, as effective as heparinization and with lower costs.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
Has not received any funding.
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.