Bleeding complications of central venous catheterization in septic patients with abnormal hemostasis

Published:March 20, 2014DOI:



      Central venous catheterization (CVC) is thought to be relatively contraindicated in patients with thrombocytopenia or coagulopathy. We measured the 24-hour incidence of bleeding in septic emergency department (ED) patients undergoing CVC.


      This multicenter, retrospective cohort study included septic ED patients undergoing CVC with one of the following: platelets less than 100 000/μL, international normalized ratio at least 1.3, or partial thromboplastin time at least 35 seconds. Major bleeding included radiographically confirmed intrathoracic, mediastinal, or internal neck hemorrhage or line-related bleeding causing hemodynamic compromise. Minor bleeding included local oozing or superficial hematoma. Multivariable regression analysis was performed to determine the association between candidate variables and hemorrhagic complications.


      Of the 936 cases, mean age was 68.1 years; 535 (57.2%) were male. Two or more qualifying laboratory abnormalities were present in 204 cases (21.8%). The proceduralists were predominately attendings (790; 84.4%). The initial veins were the internal jugular (n = 800; 85.5%), subclavian (n = 123; 13.1%), and femoral (n = 13; 1.4%). Initial access was successful in 872 cases (93.2%). We found one case (95% upper confidence limit: 0.6%) of major bleeding and 37 cases (4.0%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.8%-5.4%) of minor bleeding. Only failed access at the initial site was independently associated with hemorrhagic outcomes: adjusted odds ratio 8.2 (95% CI, 3.7-18.0).


      Major bleeding from CVC in ED patients with abnormal hemostasis is rare. Minor bleeding is uncommon and infrequently requires intervention. Successful catheterization on the initial attempt is associated with fewer hemorrhagic complications. These results can inform the risk/benefit calculus for CVC in this population.
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