Conservative Approach in Children with Central Line Infection
Zvi Steiner, Yafim Kandelis, George Mogilner, Dina Atias, Isaac Srugo
Dept. of Pediatric Surgery, and Hematology and Clinical Microbiology Units, Bnei-Zion Medical Center, and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, The Technion, Haifa
In 1994-1995, central venous lines were placed in 47 children. All except 1 were of the Broviac type, with subcutaneous tunneling via the internal or external jugular vein. Ages were between 7 days and 16 years. Indications for central venous cannulation were chemotherapy (35 cases), TPN (5), prolonged parenteral antibiotics (4), and repeated blood transfusions (3). The catheter was the source of infection in 13 children (28%), 11 of whom were immunocompromised. The commonly identified bacteria were Staphylococcus aureus (4 cases), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (4), coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (2), and various gram-negative rods (3). All cases were treated with antibiotics through the catheter. The most commonly used were oxacillin (4), ceftazidime (4), and amikacin (4). In 10, treatment succeeded without having to remove the line. In 2 others, tunnel infection developed and the catheter had to be removed. 1 child forcefully removed his catheter before treatment could be started. There were no further complications in the group treated conservatively, except for a case of superior vena cava thrombosis in a girl with recurrent infection of the tunnel. In 7 out of 13 treatment was continued and completed at home. This saved 65 days of hospitalization out of 210. We conclude that the conservative approach to treatment is feasible in most cases of infection when the source is the central venous catheter itself. However, when the tunnel is infected, conservative treatment may be ineffective. Treatment can be carried out in the home, with economy in cost and in use of hospital beds, and is preferred by patients and their parents.