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Early intracardiac thrombosis in preterm infants and thrombolysis with recombinant tissue type plasminogen activator


OBJECTIVES To determine the incidence of catheter related thrombosis and to test the efficacy of recombinant tissue type plasminogen activator (rt-PA) in preterm infants.

STUDY DESIGN From January 1995 to December 1998, echocardiography was performed in the first few days of life in 76 very low birthweight (⩽ 1500 g) infants out of a total of 147 having an umbilical catheter placed. When intracardiac thrombosis was diagnosed, rt-PA infusion was performed.

RESULTS Four infants (5%) developed an intracardiac thrombosis during the first few days of life. In three of them, rt-PA at a dose of 0.4–0.5 mg/kg in a 20–30 minute bolus led to dissolution of the clot. One patient received a three hour infusion after the bolus, at a dose of 0.1 mg/kg/h, with resolution of the thrombus. No systemic effects were observed after rt-PA infusion.

CONCLUSIONS Early thrombosis may occur as a complication of umbilical catheterisation in preterm infants; early echocardiographic detection of this disorder allows complete, safe, and rapid lysis with rt-PA.

  • recombinant tissue type plasminogen activator
  • thrombosis
  • very low birthweight infants
  • echocardiography

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