Infection and thrombosis are serious complications of long-term vascular access devices in children undergoing chemotherapy. Since routine fibrinolytic therapy may decrease these complications, the purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy of an every-2-week administration of urokinase with standard heparin flushes in reducing the incidence of device-related infections and occlusions.Materials and Methods
This study was a prospective, randomized phase III multicenter trial conducted by the Children's Cancer Group, in which patients with implantable ports or tunneled catheters received either urokinase or heparin every 2 weeks for 12 months. Study end points were time to first occlusion or time to first device-related infection.Results
Five hundred seventy-seven patients from 29 institutions were enrolled, of whom 51% had external catheters and 49% had ports. Urokinase administration resulted in fewer occlusive events than heparin (23% v 31%; P = .02), a longer time to first occlusive event (log-rank analysis, P = .006), and a 1.6-fold difference in the rate of occlusive events (Poisson regression, P = .003). Similar results were noted when comparing ports and tunneled catheters. The urokinase group also had a 1.4-fold difference in the rate of infection (Poisson regression, P = .05) and longer time to first infection (log-rank, P = .07), but the difference was significant only in tunneled catheters.Conclusion
Urokinase administration every 2 weeks significantly affects the rate of occlusive events in ports and tunneled catheters and of infectious events in external catheters compared with heparin administration.