Obstructed central venous catheters: Restoring function with a 12‐hour infusion of low‐dose urokinase

William D. Haire, Robert P. Lieberman, Gunnar B. Lund, James Edney, Bridget M. Wieczorek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Thrombotic obstruction frequently prohibits infusion through or withdrawal of blood from central venous catheters and can occur in conjunction with symptomatic thrombosis of the subclavian vein. Thirty catheters were radiographically proved to be obstructed by thrombus and had not responded to at least one instillation of 5000 units of urokinase. All catheters were treated with a 12‐hour infusion of urokinase at the rate of 40,000 units/hour. the obstructing thrombus was either eliminated or reduced in size in all instances and full function was restored in all but one catheter. No bleeding complications were seen. Six patients with obstructed catheters also had symptoms of subclavian vein thrombosis. All patients with symptoms of subclavian vein obstruction became asymptomatic on anticoagulant therapy even though no attempt at dissolving the thrombus obstructing the subclavian vein was made. A 12‐hour infusion of low doses of urokinase can safely salvage function of obstructed catheters that otherwise may require replacement. Patients with concomitant subclavian vein thrombosis become asymptomatic on anticoagulant therapy without need to dissolve the obstructing thrombus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2279-2285
Number of pages7
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 1 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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