Catheter-related infections in pediatric patients with cancer

V. Cecinati, L. Brescia, L. Tagliaferri, P. Giordano, S. Esposito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Central venous catheters (CVCs) are essential in the management of pediatric patients receiving antineoplastic therapy or bone marrow transplants, and have significantly improved their quality of life, but CVC-related infectious complications are a major source of morbidity. It has been estimated that 14-51 % of the CVCs implanted in children with malignancies may be complicated by bacteremia, and that the incidence of infections is 1.4-1.9 episodes per 1,000 CVC days. However, there are few recent data concerning the epidemiology of CVC-related infections, the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance in their etiology, or the main factors associated with an increased risk of infection by type of catheter, patient age, the type of cancer, or the presence of neutropenia. Moreover, although various new strategies have been proposed in an attempt to reduce the risk of CVC-related infections, such as catheters impregnated with antiseptics/antibiotics, lock antibiotic prophylaxis, the use of ointments at the exit site, and antithrombotic prophylaxis, their real efficacy in children has not yet been demonstrated. The management of CVC-related infections remains difficult, mainly because of the number of still open questions (including the choice of optimal antimicrobial therapy because of the increasing isolation of multiresistant bacterial strains, treatment duration, whether catheters should be removed or not, the feasibility of guidewire exchange, and the usefulness of antibiotic lock therapy) and the lack of studies of children with cancer. Only well-designed, prospective clinical trials involving pediatric cancer patients can clarify optimal prevention and treatment strategies for CVC-related infections in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2869-2877
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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