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Portacaths are safe for long-term regular blood transfusion in children with sickle cell anaemia


Peripheral venous access in children with sickle cell anaemia (SCA) requiring regular blood transfusions can become difficult over time. Previous reports have suggested the use of totally implantable venous access devices, Portacaths (PAC) in this patient group are associated with unacceptable high rates of complications. We present our experience in seven children with SCA over a 9-year period. Seven devices were placed for a total of 9754 PAC days during the study period. The median age at insertion was 6.3 years (range 3–15 years). The rate of PAC associated infection was 0.2 per 1000 PAC days. There were no episodes of thrombosis. The median length of time in situ during the study period was 3.7 years (range 1.3–7.5 years). Our experience highlights the safe and reliable use of PAC in children with SCA requiring regular blood transfusions when venous access has become a major problem.

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