Heparin versus 0.9% saline solution to maintain patency of totally implanted venous access ports in cancer patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Link to article at PubMed

Int J Nurs Pract. 2021 Apr;27(2):e12913. doi: 10.1111/ijn.12913. Epub 2021 Jan 22.


AIM: The use of heparin and 0.9% saline solution is always controversial for central venous catheters. However, there is no systematic review or guideline about whether saline solution can replace heparin solution in adult cancer patients with totally implantable venous access ports (TIVAPs). The purpose of this review is to evaluate whether saline solution can replace heparin saline to lock TIVAPs.

METHODS: The following databases were searched: PubMed, the Cochrane Library, Web of Science, Embase, CINAHL and Ovid (January 1, 1982, and February 21, 2020). All statistical analyses of the meta-analysis were completed using the Review Manager 5.3.

RESULTS: A total of 201 studies were identified from these databases after initial review, and four studies met inclusion criteria, including 2652 cases. There was little heterogeneity among the included studies (I2 < 30%), and all analyses were conducted by the fixed-effects model. The total complications, catheter occlusions, catheter-related bloodstream infections and other complication rates in the heparin solution group were higher than in the saline solution group. In the subgroup analysis of heparin concentration, total complication rates in the saline solution group were higher than with 50 U of heparin and lower than with 100 U of heparin. However, the differences in these complications were small, and no significant difference was observed (all P > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Based on existing clinical studies, we recommend that saline solution can replace 50 or 100 U/ml of heparin as a safe and effective flush solution for TIVAPs.

PMID:33484061 | DOI:10.1111/ijn.12913

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