The recent unequivocal demonstration that prophylaxis, three to four weekly factor infusions, is effective in preventing joint disease in children with haemophilia, has provided impetus to initiate prophylaxis early in such children. Yet, nearly a quarter (22%) of the 83% who required central venous access devices for factor infusion developed central venous access catheter (CVAD)-related infection. This limitation of CVAD use prevents many families from initiating prophylaxis. The frequent occurrence of local thrombosis accompanying CVAD-related infection in surgical patients and autopsy cases, the thrombogenic plastic CVAD surfaces, and local clot formation at the insertion site, suggest the potential role of thrombolytic agents in preventing these infections. Yet, correlation between CVAD-related infection and local thrombosis in children with haemophilia are lacking, and thromboprophylaxis to prevent CVAD-related infection is controversial. Tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA), a recombinant serine protease glycoprotein that lyses plasmin-bound fibrin and is safe and effective in the treatment of occluded catheters, has not been evaluated in the prevention of these infections. We performed a literature review of CVAD-related infection, CVAD-related thrombosis, and thromboprophylaxis studies to evaluate the role of t-PA in the prevention of these infections in children with haemophilia. Metanalysis of published thromboprophylaxis trials demonstrate current prophylaxis regimens do not prevent CVAD infection, and further, that thrombosis and infection do not necessarily occur simultaneously. Pilot data demonstrate CVAD infection reduction in haemophilic children by monthly t-PA in 18 haemophilic children, suggesting the potential role of t-PA in CVAD infection prevention. Clinical trials to evaluate t-PA in CVAD infection prevention are justified.
- Central venous access catheter
- Tissue plasminogen activator
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