AIM: To determine whether the addition of heparin to total parenteral nutrition (TPN) fluid would prevent blockage of peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) in neonates.
METHODS: This was a randomized, double-blind, controlled study of 66 eligible neonates with PICCs inserted for the administration of TPN. Infants were randomized to receive TPN containing either 1 IU ml(-1) of heparin (n = 35) or no heparin (n = 31).
RESULTS: There was no significant difference in the incidence of blocked catheters between the two groups of infants (heparin: 14.3%; no-heparin: 22.6%, p = 0.4). Although a higher percentage (62.9%) of infants in the heparin group received a complete course of TPN successfully via PICC than those in the no-heparin group (48.4%), the difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.3). There were no significant differences in the incidence of catheter-related sepsis, hypertriglyceridaemia, hyperbilirubinaemia, coagulopathy or intraventricular haemorrhage between the two groups.
CONCLUSION: Addition of heparin to TPN fluid was not associated with a significant reduction in the incidence of blocked PICCs. However, the sample size of this study was too small to exclude even rather marked differences between the groups.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.