Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 386–392 | Cite as

Incidence and outcomes of catheter related thrombosis (CRT) in patients with acute leukemia using a platelet-adjusted low molecular weight heparin regimen

  • Kay T. Htun
  • Mabel J. Y. Ma
  • Agnes Y. Y. LeeEmail author


Patients with acute leukemia frequently develop catheter-related thrombosis (CRT) despite concurrent thrombocytopenia. The incidence, treatment and outcomes of this complication are poorly documented. We undertook this study to determine the incidence of CRT in patients with acute leukemia and assess the safety and effectiveness of a treatment strategy using a platelet-adjusted low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) dosing protocol. Patients (18 years and older) with newly diagnosed acute leukemia from January 2014 to December 2015 who received central venous catheters were included. The clinical data were reviewed up to 12 months from acute leukemia diagnosis to capture objectively documented CRT events. The outcome events including recurrent venous thromboembolism (VTE), bleeding events, infectious or mechanical complications, and death were reported up to 3 months from the time of CRT diagnosis. The incidence of CRT among 214 patients was 10.7% (23 patients) in the first 12 months after acute leukemia diagnosis. Among 18 patients who were treated with anticoagulation, 14 (78%) received reduced LMWH dosing due to concurrent thrombocytopenia. There were no recurrent VTE episodes, but 3 patients experienced bleeding events while on anticoagulation. Fifteen patients (83%) completed a minimum of 3 months anticoagulation. Twelve patients (52%) experienced an infectious complication, which was the main reason for catheter removal. Deaths occurred in 2 patients, related to underlying acute leukemia during 3 months period following CRT. Symptomatic CRT is frequent in patients with acute leukemia. Platelet-adjusted LMWH dosing may be effective and well tolerated despite thrombocytopenia.


Catheter related thrombosis Acute leukemia Anticoagulant Low molecular weight heparin Thrombocytopenia 



We would like to thank Ms. Janet Nitta for extracting the data from Leukemia Bone Marrow Transplant database for our project.


No funding was received for this project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Agnes Y.Y. Lee, corresponding author: I received the research funding from Bristol Myers Squibb and honoraria from Pfizer. I have participated in advisory boards and provided consultancy for Bayer, Pfizer and LEO Pharma. Kay T. Htun and Mabel J.Y. Ma have no conflict of interest to declare.

Ethical approval

The study protocol was approved by the institutional ethics board.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kay T. Htun
    • 1
  • Mabel J. Y. Ma
    • 2
  • Agnes Y. Y. Lee
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of HaematologyPeninsula HealthFrankstonAustralia
  2. 2.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Department of MedicineUniversity of British Columbia, British Columbia Cancer AgencyVancouverCanada
  4. 4.Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care CentreVancouverCanada

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