23 Jul Central Venous Catheters Raise Infection Risk in Cancer Patients
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Allison Lipitz-Snyderman, PhD
Assistant Attending Outcomes Research Scientist
Center for Health Policy and Outcomes
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY 10065
Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Lipitz-Snyderman: Long-term central venous catheters are used to administer intravenous fluids and treatments such as chemotherapy. These catheters can also be a source of bloodstream infections which can be harmful to cancer patients. However, this risk is not well understood. In our study, we found that the use of these catheters was associated with an increased risk of infections for patients with cancer. We used a population-based dataset, SEER-Medicare, to study this issue in older adult cancer patients. This dataset allowed us to study patients treated in different institutions and follow them over time.
Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Lipitz-Snyderman: Our study supports the notion that using these types of catheters increased cancer patients’ risk of acquiring infections compared to not using them. This finding is consistent with other studies that have provided estimates of infection rates related to these catheters.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Lipitz-Snyderman: Long-term central venous catheters help to administer treatments such as chemotherapy. However, these catheters can also be a potential source of infections for cancer patients. This risk should be considered when patients and physicians are deciding on the most appropriate method for administration of treatment. Reducing infections can help to reduce harm to cancer patients.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Lipitz-Snyderman: There are two primary ways to help prevent infections from long-term central venous catheters. One way is to reduce the use of these catheters when they are not required. Another way is to implement interventions for infection prevention that are specific to cancer patients to minimize their potential to cause harm. Future research is needed to better understand how best to reduce these infections and improve the safety of cancer care.