Safety and complications of central venous catheters in AIDS patients

E. C.J. Consten, J. J.B. Van Lanschot, F. M. Movig, L. Rijsman, J. Oosting, S. A. Danner

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Objective: To investigate and compare the incidence and type of complications related to central venous catheters in AIDS patients and in two control groups of non-AIDS patients. Methods: Three groups of patients requiring permanent venous access were investigated retrospectively between January 1988 and January 1994, The indication for Port-A-Cath system implantation in AIDS patients was administration of virustatics and/or total parenteral nutrition (TPN) (group A, n = 71), in non-AIDS immunocompromised patients it was chemotherapy (group B, n = 65) and in immunocompetent patients it was home TPN (group C, n = 14). Complications were categorized into infectious complications and non-infectious complications, and related to patient characteristics, degree of immunosuppression, type of therapeutic medium, insertion technique and catheter survival time. Results: Type of complications could not be related to type of insertion procedure or length of operation, Catheter-related mortality was low in all groups (0-1%). Type of complications could be related to catheter survival time in all groups. Infectious complications could not be related to degree of immunosuppression (CD4+ lymphocyte counts or white blood cell count). Unexpectedly, the incidence of both infectious and non-infectious complications was significantly higher for group C than for groups A and B, probably because of type of medium and/or differences in handling of the catheter. Conclusion: In this retrospective study, central venous catheters appear to be safe and are well tolerated by AIDS patients, as compared to non-AIDS immunocompromised patients receiving chemotherapy and immunocompetent home-TPN patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)508-513
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Microbiology and Infection
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1998


  • AIDS
  • Central venous catheters
  • Immunocompetent
  • Immunocompromised
  • Infectious complications
  • Non-infectious complications

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