Clotting factor replacement forms the pillar of treatment for children with hemophilia. Most children can be treated using peripheral venipuncture, but very young children and children with poor venous access might require a central venous catheter. Short-term and long-term complications of implantable venous access device placement (also known as port placement) can result in important morbidity and mortality in children with hemophilia.
The purpose of this study is to describe our experience with port placement in children and adolescents with severe hemophilia (<1% of the Factors VIII or IX).
Materials and methods
We performed a retrospective review over a 10-year period to identify port placement in pediatric patients with severe hemophilia. We reviewed demographic and procedural information, access frequency, mechanical complications, and central-line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI). Eighteen males were included, with median age at insertion of 3.9 years (0.7–22.7 years). Fifteen of the 18 patients had hemophilia Type A and 3/18 had Type B. Thirteen had high neutralizing inhibitor titers.
Technical success in port placement was achieved in 26/27 (96.3%) patients, with 1 port failure caused by venous occlusion from prior catheter placement. Port catheter size ranged from 5 French (Fr) to 7.5 Fr. All were single-lumen and placed via right (76.9%) or left (23.1%) internal jugular vein; 59.3% were placed during general anesthesia, and all had factor replacement prophylaxis. A peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) was placed concurrently in 69.2% of the cases; per hospital policy, the port was only accessed 15 days post-placement to reduce the risk of site hematoma. Two patients were lost to follow-up. The total catheter days was 15,893. Ports were removed in 14/24 cases, most commonly because of CLABSI (7/24; 29.2%) and transition to peripheral infusion (3/24; 12.5%). Bleeding was the most common complication in the first 30 days after placement. There were nine CLABSI events (0.57 per 1,000 catheter days), all in patients with high neutralizing inhibitor titers. A higher frequency of port access (more or equal to daily vs. less than daily) correlated with higher infection rates (P=0.02). Median time from port insertion to first infection was 348 days (range 167–1,055 days). There were four fibrin-sheath-related catheter occlusions (0.25 per 1,000 catheter days): three catheters were salvaged with intra-catheter tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) instillation resulting in a salvage of an additional 1,214 catheter days, and one catheter was removed after tPA failure (0.06 per 1,000 catheter days).
Port maintenance in boys with severe hemophilia is challenging given the need for long-term frequent device access that is associated with catheter-related infections. The rate of bleeding or infection did not differ in patients whether the device was accessed immediately or 15 days post placement. With appropriate pre- and post-procedural factor replacement, immediate and early term severe complications are not common.