Enoxaparin inhibits fibrin sheath formation and decreases central venous catheter colonization following bacteremic challenge

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Inhibition of fibrin sheath formation by enoxaparin decreases catheter colonization. Fibrin-binding radioactive tracer and catheter weights quantify fibrin reduction.


Controlled experimental study of central venous line colonization.


Animal laboratory.


Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats.


Central venous lines were introduced into right external jugular veins of 254 animals in three groups: enoxaparin, Fibrimage, and catheter weight. The enoxaparin group (n = 196) received daily enoxaparin injections (n = 97) or catheter implantation only (n = 99); 176 received tail vein injections of Staphylococcus epidermidis on postoperative day (POD) 10. Twenty rats received saline injections as a control. On POD 13, catheters were removed and incubated in broth at 37°C for 48 hrs. Turbid samples were plated. In the Fibrimage group (n = 39), 20 rats receiving enoxaparin were compared with 19 controls without enoxaparin; all received S. epidermidis injections on POD 10. Fibrimage, fibrin-binding radiolabeled tracer, was given 1 hr before catheter removal. In the weight group (n = 19), six rats received enoxaparin; 13 did not. All received injections of S. epidermidis on POD 10.

Measurements and Main Results:

Positive plates underwent analytic profile index testing, ensuring correlation with inoculum. Results were compared using Fisher’s exact or chi-square tests. Gamma counts were determined in the Fibrimage group. Catheter tip weights were recorded. Results from the Fibrimage and weight groups were compared using Student’s t-test. The enoxaparin group had fewer catheters colonized (17 of 77) vs. no enoxaparin (42 of 99; p < .01). Pericatheter sheaths contained less fibrin compared with controls. Fibrimage group gamma counts were significantly decreased for the enoxaparin subgroup (x = 2244 counts per minute) vs. controls (x = 3767 counts per minute; p < .0002). The weight of catheter tips treated with enoxaparin (x = 39 mg) vs. controls (x = 90 mg) was also significantly decreased (p < .0001).


Enoxaparin decreases the amount of fibrin surrounding central venous catheters. The incidence of catheter colonization decreases when the amount of fibrin within the pericatheter sheath decreases.

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