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Safety of Catheter Lock With or Without Heparin in Implanted Central Venous Catheters

This study has been completed.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
First Posted: October 14, 2009
Last Update Posted: June 9, 2011
The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
Leuvens Kanker Instituut
Information provided by:
Universitaire Ziekenhuizen Leuven
Long-term central venous access devices are considered as safe for the administration of medication as chemotherapy, but are also used for blood sampling. For years these catheters have been locked with a heparin solution in order to avoid occlusion. However, no scientific evidence supports heparin locking when the device is not in use. Advanced technology as needleless caps and valved catheters and port reservoirs confirms this trend to use 'saline only' for locking these devices. Therefore the investigators hypothesize is that there will be no difference in proportion of occlusions and catheter related bacteremia in long-term venous access devices locked with 'saline only' versus with heparin.

Condition Intervention Phase
Oncology, Medical Hematologic Disease Drug: normal saline Phase 4

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
Official Title: Locking of Totally Implanted Venous Access Devices and Tunneled Catheters With or Without Heparin: a Randomised Open-labeled Controlled Trial

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Universitaire Ziekenhuizen Leuven:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Withdrawal occlusion [ Time Frame: within180 days ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • all catheter-related bacteremia [ Time Frame: within 180 days ]
  • Incidence of functional problems other than withdrawal occlusion [ Time Frame: within 180 days ]

Estimated Enrollment: 1100
Study Start Date: January 2009
Study Completion Date: June 2011
Primary Completion Date: June 2011 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Normal saline
In the intervention group the use of heparin as locking solution in the catheter lumen (or lumina) when the catheter is not longer in use is omitted. Catheters are locked under positive pressure with normal saline in stead injecting an extra volume of heparinised saline (100IU/ml).
Drug: normal saline
Ten milliliters of normal saline will be injected at the end of the intravenous therapy. Injection is performed with the start/stop method and with the positive pressure technique (clamping the catheter while injecting the last milliliters of normal saline)
No Intervention: Heparin lock Drug: normal saline
Ten milliliters of normal saline will be injected at the end of the intravenous therapy. Injection is performed with the start/stop method and with the positive pressure technique (clamping the catheter while injecting the last milliliters of normal saline)


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Ages Eligible for Study:   1 Year and older   (Child, Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Oncology and hematology patients
  • Life expectancy of minimum of 180 days

Exclusion Criteria:

  • second or femoral long-term central venous access device
  • known allergy to heparin (HIT)
  • coagulation disorders(INR >2, Blood platelets > 1,000,000/mm3)
  • therapeutic intravenous heparin administration
  Contacts and Locations
Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT00994136

Universitaire Ziekenhuizen Leuven
Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium, 3000
Sponsors and Collaborators
Universitaire Ziekenhuizen Leuven
Leuvens Kanker Instituut
Principal Investigator: Marguerite Stas, MD, PhD Universitaire Ziekenhuizen Leuven
  More Information

Stephens LC, Haire WD, Tarantolo S, Reed E, Schmit-Pokorny K, Kessinger A, Klein R. Normal saline versus heparin flush for maintaining central venous catheter patency during apheresis collection of peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC). Transfus Sci. 1997 Jun;18(2):187-93.
Kadidal VV, Mayo DJ, Horne MK. Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) due to heparin flushes: a report of three cases. J Intern Med. 1999 Sep;246(3):325-9. Review.
Rama BN, Haake RE, Bander SJ, Ghasem-Zadeh A, Gorla C. Heparin-flush associated thrombocytopenia--induced hemorrhage: a case report. Nebr Med J. 1991 Dec;76(12):392-4.
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Randolph AG, Cook DJ, Gonzales CA, Andrew M. Benefit of heparin in peripheral venous and arterial catheters: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ. 1998 Mar 28;316(7136):969-75.
Theard JL, Robard S. [Outcome of usage protocols on implantable devices]. Ann Fr Anesth Reanim. 1995;14(6):534-5. French.
Smith S, Dawson S, Hennessey R, Andrew M. Maintenance of the patency of indwelling central venous catheters: is heparin necessary? Am J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 1991 Summer;13(2):141-3.
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Kelly C, Dumenko L, McGregor SE, McHutchion ME. A change in flushing protocols of central venous catheters. Oncol Nurs Forum. 1992 May;19(4):599-605.
Goossens GA, Verbeeck G, Moons P, Sermeus W, De Wever I, Stas M. Functional evaluation of conventional 'Celsite' venous ports versus 'Vortex' ports with a tangential outlet: a prospective randomised pilot study. Support Care Cancer. 2008 Dec;16(12):1367-74. doi: 10.1007/s00520-008-0436-y. Epub 2008 Apr 15.
McDiarmid S, Hamelin L, Huebsch LB. Leading change: Retrospective evaluation of a nurse-led initiative in vascular access options for autologous stem cell transplant recipients ranging from Hickman catheters to peripherally inserted central catheters. J Infus Nurs. 2006 Mar-Apr;29(2):81-8.
Horan TC, Andrus M, Dudeck MA. CDC/NHSN surveillance definition of health care-associated infection and criteria for specific types of infections in the acute care setting. Am J Infect Control. 2008 Jun;36(5):309-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2008.03.002. Erratum in: Am J Infect Control. 2008 Nov;36(9):655.
Caers J, Fontaine C, Vinh-Hung V, De Mey J, Ponnet G, Oost C, Lamote J, De Greve J, Van Camp B, Lacor P. Catheter tip position as a risk factor for thrombosis associated with the use of subcutaneous infusion ports. Support Care Cancer. 2005 May;13(5):325-31. Epub 2004 Nov 5.
Petersen J, Delaney JH, Brakstad MT, Rowbotham RK, Bagley CM Jr. Silicone venous access devices positioned with their tips high in the superior vena cava are more likely to malfunction. Am J Surg. 1999 Jul;178(1):38-41.
Brouns F, Schuermans A, Verhaegen J, De Wever I, Stas M. Infection assessment of totally implanted long-term venous access devices. J Vasc Access. 2006 Jan-Mar;7(1):24-8.
Hadaway LC. Flushing to reduce central catheter occlusions. Nursing. 2000 Oct;30(10):74.
Ryder M. The role of biofilm in vascular catheter-related infections. 15-25. 2001. Ref Type: Serial (Book,Monograph)
Cossey V, Thelissen MJ, Goossens GA, Stas M, Schuermans A. Needleless positive-pressure mechanical valve connectors: are they safe? Clin Microbiol Infect 2008;S121-666.doi:10.1111/j.1469-0691.2008.02007.x.

Responsible Party: Marguerite Stas, Universitaire Ziekenhuizen Leuven
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00994136     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: SM008
First Submitted: October 13, 2009
First Posted: October 14, 2009
Last Update Posted: June 9, 2011
Last Verified: June 2011

Keywords provided by Universitaire Ziekenhuizen Leuven:
Catheters, indwelling
Catheterization, Central Venous
Withdrawal occlusion
Heparin lock

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Hematologic Diseases
Calcium heparin
Fibrinolytic Agents
Fibrin Modulating Agents
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action

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