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Research Article

Reduction of catheter-associated sepsis in parenteral nutrition using low-dose intravenous heparin.

Br Med J 1979; 1 doi: (Published 23 June 1979) Cite this as: Br Med J 1979;1:1671
  1. M J Bailey


    To assess whether adding low-dose heparin to the infusate of patients receiving parenteral nutrition reduced the incidence of septic complications related to the central venous catheter, 80 consecutive patients requiring intravenous feeding were studied. Half of these patients received heparin 1 unit/ml of infusate, while in the remaining 40 (controls) an equal volume of physiological saline was added to the infusate. Strict criteria for the management of the indwelling CVC were observed. The catheter tips were cultured after removal: only one was infected in the heparin group compared with nine in the control group. This significant reduction may have been due to the heparin preventing a fibrin sleeve from forming around the catheter tip. It is recommended that, as well as observing the usual aseptic precautions in managing the cannula, 500 units of heparin are added to each 500 ml of fluid infused to reduce the incidence of catheter-associated sepsis.