Invasive line placement in critically ill patients: Do hemostatic defects matter?

T. G. Deloughery, J. M. Liebler, V. Simonds, S. H. Goodnight

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Background: Blood components are often given prophylactically before the placement of invasive lines in patients with coagulation defects. Little, however, is known about the epidemiology of defects in these patients. The purpose of this study is to ascertain what proportion of intensive care patients who receive invasive lines have hemostatic defects, what actions are taken by physicians to correct these abnormalities before invasive line insertion, and what the incidence is of bleeding complications after invasive line placement. Study Design and Methods: Charts were retrospectively reviewed for 490 intensive care patients in whom 938 arterial, pulmonary artery, and central venous lines were placed. Results: At least one defect in hemostasis was documented for 388 patients (41%) before line placement, with 253 (27%) of these patients evidencing severe abnormalities. Seventeen percent of patients had no preprocedure laboratory evaluation. Trauma patients showed the highest numbers of abnormalities in hemostatic testing, but medical patients had more-severe defects. The occurrence of isolated abnormal laboratory values did not predict bleeding, but a score derived from a consideration of multiple defects did. Correction of the abnormalities was attempted in 37 percent of patients with hemostatic defects. Sixteen patients had bleeding complications, but only two had complications that were life- threatening. None of the complications were fatal. Conclusion: Invasive lines are used frequently in patients with hemostatic defects, often without any attempt to correct the abnormalities. Nevertheless, rates of hemorrhage are low and appear to be closely related to the level of experience of the physician rather than to defects in hemostasis. These findings suggest that the use of blood components for preprocedure correction of hemostatic defects is not necessary, except in those patients who have the most severe hemostatic abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)827-831
Number of pages5
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology


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