Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (1168309)

Clipboard (0)

Related Articles

1.  Routine care of peripheral intravenous catheters versus clinically indicated replacement: randomised controlled trial 
Objective To compare routine replacement of intravenous peripheral catheters with replacement only when clinically indicated.
Design Randomised controlled trial.
Setting Tertiary hospital in Australia.
Participants 755 medical and surgical patients: 379 allocated to catheter replacement only when clinically indicated and 376 allocated to routine care of catheter (control group).
Main outcome measure A composite measure of catheter failure resulting from phlebitis or infiltration.
Results Catheters were removed because of phlebitis or infiltration from 123 of 376 (33%) patients in the control group compared with 143 of 379 (38%) patients in the intervention group; the difference was not significant (relative risk 1.15, 95% confidence interval 0.95 to 1.40). When the analysis was based on failure per 1000 device days (number of failures divided by number of days catheterised, divided by 1000), no difference could be detected between the groups (relative risk 0.98, 0.78 to 1.24). Infusion related costs were higher in the control group (mean $A41.02; £19.71; €24.80; $38.55) than intervention group ($A36.40). The rate of phlebitis in both groups was low (4% in intervention group, 3% in control group).
Conclusion Replacing peripheral intravenous catheters when clinically indicated has no effect on the incidence of failure, based on a composite measure of phlebitis or infiltration. Larger trials are needed to test this finding using phlebitis alone as a more clinically meaningful outcome.
Registration number Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12605000147684.
PMCID: PMC2483870  PMID: 18614482
2.  Benefit of heparin in peripheral venous and arterial catheters: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1998;316(7136):969-975.
Objective: To evaluate the effect of heparin on duration of catheter patency and on prevention of complications associated with use of peripheral venous and arterial catheters.
Design: Critical appraisal and meta-analysis of 26 randomised controlled trials that evaluated infusion of heparin intermittently or continuously. Thirteen trials of peripheral venous catheters and two of peripheral arterial catheters met criteria for inclusion.
Main outcome measures: Data on the populations, interventions, outcomes, and methodological quality.
Results: For peripheral venous catheters locked between use flushing with 10 U/ml of heparin instead of normal saline did not reduce the incidence of catheter clotting and phlebitis or improve catheter patency. When heparin was given as a continuous infusion at 1 U/ml the risk of phlebitis decreased (relative risk 0.55; 95% confidence interval 0.39 to 0.77), the duration of patency increased, and infusion failure was reduced (0.88; 0.72 to 1.07). Heparin significantly prolonged duration of patency of radial artery catheters and decreased the risk of clot formation (0.51; 0.42 to 0.61).
Conclusions: Use of intermittent heparin flushes at doses of 10 U/ml in peripheral venous catheters locked between use had no benefit over normal saline flush. Infusion of low dose heparin through a peripheral arterial catheter prolonged the duration of patency but further study is needed to establish its benefit for peripheral venous catheters.
Key messages Despite almost universal use, agreement has not been reached on the need to administer heparin through peripheral intravascular catheters The results of 13 trials on peripheral venous catheters and two trials on peripheral arterial catheters were critically appraised to clarify what evidence supports the use of heparin Flushing peripheral venous catheters locked between use with heparinised saline at 10 U/ml is no more beneficial than flushing with normal saline Heparin significantly prolongs the duration of peripheral arterial catheter patency and decreases the risk of clot formation In peripheral venous catheters heparin added to the infusion at 1 U/ml decreases phlebitis and may prolong duration of catheter patency and decrease infusion failure
PMCID: PMC28499  PMID: 9550955
3.  Prospective study of incidence and predictors of peripheral intravenous catheter-induced complications 
Although intravenous therapy is one of the most commonly performed procedures in hospitalized patients, it remains susceptible to infectious and noninfectious complications. Previous studies investigated peripheral intravenous catheter (PIVC) complications mainly in pediatrics, but apparently none were investigated among Saudi adult populations. The aim of this study was to assess the pattern and complications of PIVCs at King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
An observational prospective cohort study investigated PIVCs pattern and complications among adults with PIVCs, admitted to various wards at KAMC. PIVCs-related clinical outcomes (pain, phlebitis, leaking, and others) were recorded in 12-hour intervals, using the Visual Inspection Phlebitis scale. Density incidence (DI) and cumulative incidence (CI) of complications and their relative risks (RRs) were calculated. Regression analyses were applied and significance limits were set at P<0.05.
During the study period, 359 adults were included, mounting to 842 PIVCs and 2,505 catheter days. The majority of patients, 276 (76.9%), had medical, chief admission complaints, whereas 83 (23.1%) were trauma/surgical and infectious cases. Complicated catheters were found in 141 (39.3%) patients, with 273 complications (32.4/100 catheters), in 190 complicated catheters (CI =22.56/100 catheters and DI =75.84/1,000 catheter days). Phlebitis ranked first among complications, 148 (CI =17.6%), followed by pain 64 (CI =7.6%), leaking 33 (CI =3.9%), dislodgement 20 (CI =2.4%), and extravasations and occlusion 4 (CI =0.5% each). Phlebitis was predicted with female sex (P<0.001), insertion in fore/upper arm (P=0.024), and infusion of medication (P=0.02). Removal time for PIVCs insertion was not a significant predictor of phlebitis (RR =1.46, P=0.08).
Incidence of complications in this study was significantly higher than rates in previous studies. Better insertion techniques may be sought to lower the incidences of PIVC complications, thus extending their onset beyond day 3. Changing catheters is recommended when clinically indicated rather than routinely post-72 hours.
PMCID: PMC4266329  PMID: 25525365
catheter-induced complications; peripheral venous catheter; phlebitis; thrombo-phlebitis; incidence; prospective study
4.  Routine resite of peripheral intravenous devices every 3 days did not reduce complications compared with clinically indicated resite: a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Medicine  2010;8:53.
Peripheral intravenous device (IVD) complications were traditionally thought to be reduced by limiting dwell time. Current recommendations are to resite IVDs by 96 hours with the exception of children and patients with poor veins. Recent evidence suggests routine resite is unnecessary, at least if devices are inserted by a specialised IV team. The aim of this study was to compare the impact of peripheral IVD 'routine resite' with 'removal on clinical indication' on IVD complications in a general hospital without an IV team.
A randomised, controlled trial was conducted in a regional teaching hospital. After ethics approval, 362 patients (603 IVDs) were randomised to have IVDs replaced on clinical indication (185 patients) or routine change every 3 days (177 patients). IVDs were inserted and managed by the general hospital medical and nursing staff; there was no IV team. The primary endpoint was a composite of IVD complications: phlebitis, infiltration, occlusion, accidental removal, local infection, and device-related bloodstream infection.
IVD complication rates were 68 per 1,000 IVD days (clinically indicated) and 66 per 1,000 IVD days (routine replacement) (P = 0.86; HR 1.03; 95% CI, 0.74-1.43). Time to first complication per patient did not differ between groups (KM with log rank, P = 0.53). There were no local infections or IVD-related bloodstream infections in either group. IV therapy duration did not differ between groups (P = 0.22), but more (P = 0.004) IVDs were placed per patient in the routine replacement (mean, 1.8) than the clinical indication group (mean, 1.5), with significantly higher hospital costs per patient (P < 0.001).
Resite on clinical indication would allow one in two patients to have a single cannula per course of IV treatment, as opposed to one in five patients managed with routine resite; overall complication rates appear similar. Clinically indicated resite would achieve savings in equipment, staff time and patient discomfort. There is growing evidence to support the extended use of peripheral IVDs with removal only on clinical indication.
Registration number
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) Number ACTRN12608000421336.
PMCID: PMC2944158  PMID: 20831782
5.  Catheter indwell time and phlebitis development during peripheral intravenous catheter administration 
Objective: Intravenous catheters have been indispensable tools of modern medicine. Although intravenous applications can be used for a multitude of purposes, these applications may cause complications, some of which have serious effects. Of these complications, the most commonly observed is phlebitis. This study was conducted to determine the effect of catheter indwell time on phlebitis development during peripheral intravenous catheter administration.
Methods: This study determined the effect of catheter indwell time on phlebitis development during peripheral intravenous catheter administration. The study included a total of 103 individuals who were administered 439 catheters and satisfied the study enrollment criteria at one infectious diseases clinic in Istanbul/Turkey. Data were compiled from Patient Information Forms, Peripheral Intravenous Catheter and Therapy Information Forms, reported grades based on the Visual Infusion Phlebitis Assessment Scale, and Peripheral Intravenous Catheter Nurse Observation Forms. The data were analyzed using SPSS.
Results : The mean patient age was 53.75±15.54 (standard deviation) years, and 59.2% of the study participants were men. Phlebitis was detected in 41.2% of peripheral intravenous catheters, and the rate decreased with increased catheter indwell time. Analyses showed that catheter indwell time, antibiotic usage, sex, and catheterization sites were significantly associated with development of phlebitis.
Conclusion: The results of this study show that catheters can be used for longer periods of time when administered under optimal conditions and with appropriate surveillance.
PMCID: PMC4121686  PMID: 25097505
Peripheral venous catheter; Catheter indwell time; Phlebitis; Thrombophlebitis
6.  Infusion phlebitis assessment measures: a systematic review 
Rationale, aims and objectives
Phlebitis is a common and painful complication of peripheral intravenous cannulation. The aim of this review was to identify the measures used in infusion phlebitis assessment and evaluate evidence regarding their reliability, validity, responsiveness and feasibility.
We conducted a systematic literature review of the Cochrane library, Ovid MEDLINE and EBSCO CINAHL until September 2013. All English-language studies (randomized controlled trials, prospective cohort and cross-sectional) that used an infusion phlebitis scale were retrieved and analysed to determine which symptoms were included in each scale and how these were measured. We evaluated studies that reported testing the psychometric properties of phlebitis assessment scales using the COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement INstruments (COSMIN) guidelines.
Infusion phlebitis was the primary outcome measure in 233 studies. Fifty-three (23%) of these provided no actual definition of phlebitis. Of the 180 studies that reported measuring phlebitis incidence and/or severity, 101 (56%) used a scale and 79 (44%) used a definition alone. We identified 71 different phlebitis assessment scales. Three scales had undergone some psychometric analyses, but no scale had been rigorously tested.
Many phlebitis scales exist, but none has been thoroughly validated for use in clinical practice. A lack of consensus on phlebitis measures has likely contributed to disparities in reported phlebitis incidence, precluding meaningful comparison of phlebitis rates.
PMCID: PMC4237185  PMID: 24401116
assessment; measurement; peripheral intravenous catheter; phlebitis; psychometric assessment; scales
7.  Effect of corticosteroids on phlebitis induced by intravenous infusion of antineoplastic agents in rabbits 
Purpose: Phlebitis caused by intravenous infusion of antineoplastic agents is one of the critical problems when anticancer therapy is prolonged. We have already reported that both rapid infusion and dilution of the injection solution were effective methods for reducing phlebitis caused by vinorelbine (VNR) in rabbits. The aim of this study was to explore other practical methods for preventing phlebitis caused by VNR and doxorubicin (DXR) in a rabbit model. VNR is often used with cisplatin, and dexamethasone (DEX) has been co-administered for prevention of cisplatin-induced nausea. DXR is used with prednisolone (PSL) in the CHOP regimen for the treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Therefore, the present study investigated the prevention of phlebitis due to VNR with DEX and that due to DXR with PSL.
Methods: VNR and DXR were diluted with normal saline to prepare test solutions at concentrations of 0.6 mg/mL and 1.4 mg/mL, respectively. Each test solution was infused into the auricular veins of rabbits. Two days after VNR infusion and three days after DXR infusion, the veins were evaluated histopathologically. The effect of DEX on VNR-induced phlebitis was evaluated by infusion of DEX before or after VNR. The effect of PSL on DXR-induced phlebitis was similarly evaluated by co-infusion of PSL.
Results: The histopathological features of phlebitis caused by the antineoplastic agents differed between VNR and DXR: VNR did not cause the loss of venous endothelial cells, but caused inflammatory cell infiltration, edema, and epidermal degeneration. In contrast, DXR caused the loss of venous endothelial cells and chrondrocyte necrosis. Pre-treatment and post-treatment with DEX significantly decreased VNR-induced phlebitis compared with the control group and pre-treatment was particularly effective. Co-infusion of PSL also significantly decreased phlebitis caused by DXR, but its effect was less marked.
Conclusion: The present findings suggested that pre-treatment with DEX may be a useful method for preventing phlebitis due to VNR, and that co-infusion of PSL has the potential to prevent phlebitis caused by DXR.
PMCID: PMC2726577  PMID: 19680474
antineoplastic agents; phlebitis; vinca alkaloids; anthracyclines; corticosteroid; rabbit ear vein; vinorelbine; doxorubicin
8.  Hydrophilic Catheters 
Executive Summary
To review the evidence on the effectiveness of hydrophilic catheters for patients requiring intermittent catheterization.
Clinical Need
There are various reasons why a person would require catheterization, including surgery, urinary retention due to enlargement of the prostate, spinal cord injuries, or other physical disabilities. Urethral catheters are the most prevalent cause of nosocomial urinary tract infections, that is, those that start or occur in a hospital.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria adheres to the opening of the urethra. Most infections arise from Escherichia coli, from the colon. The bacteria spread into the bladder, resulting in the development of an infection.
The prevalence of UTIs varies with age and sex. There is a tenfold increase in incidence for females compared with males in childhood and throughout adult life until around 55 years, when the incidence of UTIs in men and women is equal, mostly as a consequence of prostatic problems in men. Investigators have reported that urethritis (inflammation of the urethra) is found in 2% to 19% of patients practising intermittent catheterization.
The Technology
Hydrophilic catheters have a polymer coating that binds o the surface of the catheter. When the polymer coating is submersed in water, it absorbs and binds the water to the catheter. The catheter surface becomes smooth and very slippery. This slippery surface remains intact upon insertion into the urethra and maintains lubrication through the length of the urethra. The hydrophilic coating is designed to reduce the friction, as the catheter is inserted with the intention of reducing the risk of urethral damage.
It has been suggested that because the hydrophilic catheters do not require manual lubrication they are more sterile and thus less likely to cause infection. Most hydrophilic catheters are prepackaged in sterile water, or there is a pouch of sterile water that is broken and released into the catheter package when the catheter is ready to use.
Review Strategy
The Medical Advisory Secretariat searched for reports of systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), meta-analyses of RCTs, and RCTs. The following databases were searched: Cochrane Library International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (fourth quarter 2005), Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (fourth quarter 2005), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (fourth quarter 2005), MEDLINE (1966 to the third week of November 2005), MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-indexed Citations (1966 to November 2005), and EMBASE (1980 to week 49 in 2005). Search terms were urinary catheterization, hydrophilic, intermittent, and bladder catheter.
The Medical Advisory Secretariat also conducted Internet searches of Medscape ( for recent reports on trials that were unpublished but presented at international conferences. In addition, the Web site Current Controlled Trials ( was searched for ongoing trials on urinary catheterization.
Summary of Findings
Five RCTs were identified that compared hydrophilic catheters to standard catheters. There was substantial variation across the studies in terms of the reason for catheterization, inclusion criteria, and type of catheter used. Two studies used reusable catheters in the control arm, while the other 3 RCTs used single-use catheters in the control arm. All 5 RCTs focused mainly on males requiring intermittent catheterization. Age varied considerably across studies. One study consisted of young males (mean age 12 years), while another included older males (mean age 71 years).
The RCTs reported conflicting results regarding the effectiveness of the hydrophilic catheters compared with standard catheters in terms of rates of UTIs. All 5 RCTs had serious limitations. Two of the studies were small, and likely underpowered to detect significant differences between groups. One RCT reported 12-month follow-up data for all 123 patients even though more than one-half of the patients had dropped out of the study by 12 months. Another RCT had unequal groups at baseline: the patients in the hydrophilic group had twice the mean number of UTIs at baseline compared with the standard catheter group. The fifth RCT used catheters to treat patients with bladder cancer; therefore, the results of their study are not generalizable to the population requiring intermittent catheterization.
Two studies did not find significant differences between the hydrophilic and standard catheter groups for patient satisfaction. Another RCT reported conflicting results; however, the overall opinion of the catheters was not significantly different between the treatment groups. A fourth RCT found that the hydrophilic catheters were substantially more comfortable than standard catheters. The fifth RCT did not report results for quality of life or patient satisfaction. Similar to the results for effectiveness, it is not possible to clearly establish if there is a significant difference in patient satisfaction between the patients using hydrophilic catheters and those using standard catheters.
Patients requiring intermittent catheterization use, on average, 4 to 5 intermittent catheters per day. Patients admitted to hospitals using intermittent catheters typically do not reuse catheters, owing to the potential increased risk of infection in hospital. Patients self-catheterizing at home are more likely to reuse catheters. Standard catheters cost about $1.00 to $1.50/catheter. Hydrophilic catheters cost about $2.00 to $5.00/catheter, depending on the type and whether they have antibiotics inside. All hydrophilic catheters are single-use.
At this time there is insufficient evidence to indicate whether hydrophilic catheters are associated with a lower rate of UTIs and improved patient satisfaction among people requiring intermittent catheterization.
PMCID: PMC3386556  PMID: 23074500
9.  Intravascular device administration sets: replacement after standard versus prolonged use in hospitalised patients—a study protocol for a randomised controlled trial (The RSVP Trial) 
BMJ Open  2015;5(2):e007257.
Vascular access devices (VADs), such as peripheral or central venous catheters, are vital across all medical and surgical specialties. To allow therapy or haemodynamic monitoring, VADs frequently require administration sets (AS) composed of infusion tubing, fluid containers, pressure-monitoring transducers and/or burettes. While VADs are replaced only when necessary, AS are routinely replaced every 3–4 days in the belief that this reduces infectious complications. Strong evidence supports AS use up to 4 days, but there is less evidence for AS use beyond 4 days. AS replacement twice weekly increases hospital costs and workload.
Methods and analysis
This is a pragmatic, multicentre, randomised controlled trial (RCT) of equivalence design comparing AS replacement at 4 (control) versus 7 (experimental) days. Randomisation is stratified by site and device, centrally allocated and concealed until enrolment. 6554 adult/paediatric patients with a central venous catheter, peripherally inserted central catheter or peripheral arterial catheter will be enrolled over 4 years. The primary outcome is VAD-related bloodstream infection (BSI) and secondary outcomes are VAD colonisation, AS colonisation, all-cause BSI, all-cause mortality, number of AS per patient, VAD time in situ and costs. Relative incidence rates of VAD-BSI per 100 devices and hazard rates per 1000 device days (95% CIs) will summarise the impact of 7-day relative to 4-day AS use and test equivalence. Kaplan-Meier survival curves (with log rank Mantel-Cox test) will compare VAD-BSI over time. Appropriate parametric or non-parametric techniques will be used to compare secondary end points. p Values of <0.05 will be considered significant.
Ethics and dissemination
Relevant ethical approvals have been received. CONSORT Statement recommendations will be used to guide preparation of any publication. Results will be presented at relevant conferences and sent to the major organisations with clinical practice guidelines for VAD care.
Trial registration number
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry (ACTRN 12610000505000).
PMCID: PMC4322194  PMID: 25649214
10.  Advanced Electrophysiologic Mapping Systems 
Executive Summary
To assess the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and demand in Ontario for catheter ablation of complex arrhythmias guided by advanced nonfluoroscopy mapping systems. Particular attention was paid to ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF).
Clinical Need
Tachycardia refers to a diverse group of arrhythmias characterized by heart rates that are greater than 100 beats per minute. It results from abnormal firing of electrical impulses from heart tissues or abnormal electrical pathways in the heart because of scars. Tachycardia may be asymptomatic, or it may adversely affect quality of life owing to symptoms such as palpitations, headaches, shortness of breath, weakness, dizziness, and syncope. Atrial fibrillation, the most common sustained arrhythmia, affects about 99,000 people in Ontario. It is associated with higher morbidity and mortality because of increased risk of stroke, embolism, and congestive heart failure. In atrial fibrillation, most of the abnormal arrhythmogenic foci are located inside the pulmonary veins, although the atrium may also be responsible for triggering or perpetuating atrial fibrillation. Ventricular tachycardia, often found in patients with ischemic heart disease and a history of myocardial infarction, is often life-threatening; it accounts for about 50% of sudden deaths.
Treatment of Tachycardia
The first line of treatment for tachycardia is antiarrhythmic drugs; for atrial fibrillation, anticoagulation drugs are also used to prevent stroke. For patients refractory to or unable to tolerate antiarrhythmic drugs, ablation of the arrhythmogenic heart tissues is the only option. Surgical ablation such as the Cox-Maze procedure is more invasive. Catheter ablation, involving the delivery of energy (most commonly radiofrequency) via a percutaneous catheter system guided by X-ray fluoroscopy, has been used in place of surgical ablation for many patients. However, this conventional approach in catheter ablation has not been found to be effective for the treatment of complex arrhythmias such as chronic atrial fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia. Advanced nonfluoroscopic mapping systems have been developed for guiding the ablation of these complex arrhythmias.
The Technology
Four nonfluoroscopic advanced mapping systems have been licensed by Health Canada:
CARTO EP mapping System (manufactured by Biosense Webster, CA) uses weak magnetic fields and a special mapping/ablation catheter with a magnetic sensor to locate the catheter and reconstruct a 3-dimensional geometry of the heart superimposed with colour-coded electric potential maps to guide ablation.
EnSite System (manufactured by Endocardial Solutions Inc., MN) includes a multi-electrode non-contact catheter that conducts simultaneous mapping. A processing unit uses the electrical data to computes more than 3,000 isopotential electrograms that are displayed on a reconstructed 3-dimensional geometry of the heart chamber. The navigational system, EnSite NavX, can be used separately with most mapping catheters.
The LocaLisa Intracardiac System (manufactured by Medtronics Inc, MN) is a navigational system that uses an electrical field to locate the mapping catheter. It reconstructs the location of the electrodes on the mapping catheter in 3-dimensional virtual space, thereby enabling an ablation catheter to be directed to the electrode that identifies abnormal electric potential.
Polar Constellation Advanced Mapping Catheter System (manufactured by Boston Scientific, MA) is a multielectrode basket catheter with 64 electrodes on 8 splines. Once deployed, each electrode is automatically traced. The information enables a 3-dimensional model of the basket catheter to be computed. Colour-coded activation maps are reconstructed online and displayed on a monitor. By using this catheter, a precise electrical map of the atrium can be obtained in several heartbeats.
Review Strategy
A systematic search of Cochrane, MEDLINE and EMBASE was conducted to identify studies that compared ablation guided by any of the advanced systems to fluoroscopy-guided ablation of tachycardia. English-language studies with sample sizes greater than or equal to 20 that were published between 2000 and 2005 were included. Observational studies on safety of advanced mapping systems and fluoroscopy were also included. Outcomes of interest were acute success, defined as termination of arrhythmia immediately following ablation; long-term success, defined as being arrhythmia free at follow-up; total procedure time; fluoroscopy time; radiation dose; number of radiofrequency pulses; complications; cost; and the cost-effectiveness ratio.
Quality of the individual studies was assessed using established criteria. Quality of the overall evidence was determined by applying the GRADE evaluation system. (3) Qualitative synthesis of the data was performed. Quantitative analysis using Revman 4.2 was performed when appropriate.
Quality of the Studies
Thirty-four studies met the inclusion criteria. These comprised 18 studies on CARTO (4 randomized controlled trials [RCTs] and 14 non-RCTs), 3 RCTs on EnSite NavX, 4 studies on LocaLisa Navigational System (1 RCT and 3 non-RCTs), 2 studies on EnSite and CARTO, 1 on Polar Constellation basket catheter, and 7 studies on radiation safety.
The quality of the studies ranged from moderate to low. Most of the studies had small sample sizes with selection bias, and there was no blinding of patients or care providers in any of the studies. Duration of follow-up ranged from 6 weeks to 29 months, with most having at least 6 months of follow-up. There was heterogeneity with respect to the approach to ablation, definition of success, and drug management before and after the ablation procedure.
Summary of Findings
Evidence is based on a small number of small RCTS and non-RCTS with methodological flaws.
Advanced nonfluoroscopy mapping/navigation systems provided real time 3-dimensional images with integration of anatomic and electrical potential information that enable better visualization of areas of interest for ablation
Advanced nonfluoroscopy mapping/navigation systems appear to be safe; they consistently shortened the fluoroscopy duration and radiation exposure.
Evidence suggests that nonfluoroscopy mapping and navigation systems may be used as adjuncts to rather than replacements for fluoroscopy in guiding the ablation of complex arrhythmias.
Most studies showed a nonsignificant trend toward lower overall failure rate for advanced mapping-guided ablation compared with fluoroscopy-guided mapping.
Pooled analyses of small RCTs and non-RCTs that compared fluoroscopy- with nonfluoroscopy-guided ablation of atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter showed that advanced nonfluoroscopy mapping and navigational systems:
Yielded acute success rates of 69% to 100%, not significantly different from fluoroscopy ablation.
Had overall failure rates at 3 months to 19 months of 1% to 40% (median 25%).
Resulted in a 10% relative reduction in overall failure rate for advanced mapping guided-ablation compared to fluoroscopy guided ablation for the treatment of atrial fibrillation.
Yielded added benefit over fluoroscopy in guiding the ablation of complex arrhythmia. The advanced systems were shown to reduce the arrhythmia burden and the need for antiarrhythmic drugs in patients with complex arrhythmia who had failed fluoroscopy-guided ablation
Based on predominantly observational studies, circumferential PV ablation guided by a nonfluoroscopy system was shown to do the following:
Result in freedom from atrial fibrillation (with or without antiarrhythmic drug) in 75% to 95% of patients (median 79%). This effect was maintained up to 28 months.
Result in freedom from atrial fibrillation without antiarrhythmic drugs in 47% to 95% of patients (median 63%).
Improve patient survival at 28 months after the procedure as compared with drug therapy.
Require special skills; patient outcomes are operator dependent, and there is a significant learning curve effect.
Complication rates of pulmonary vein ablation guided by an advanced mapping/navigation system ranged from 0% to 10% with a median of 6% during a follow-up period of 6 months to 29 months.
The complication rate of the study with the longest follow-up was 8%.
The most common complications of advanced catheter-guided ablation were stroke, transient ischemic attack, cardiac tamponade, myocardial infarction, atrial flutter, congestive heart failure, and pulmonary vein stenosis. A small number of cases with fatal atrial-esophageal fistula had been reported and were attributed to the high radiofrequency energy used rather than to the advanced mapping systems.
Economic Analysis
An Ontario-based economic analysis suggests that the cumulative incremental upfront costs of catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation guided by advanced nonfluoroscopy mapping could be recouped in 4.7 years through cost avoidance arising from less need for antiarrhythmic drugs and fewer hospitalization for stroke and heart failure.
Expert Opinion
Expert consultants to the Medical Advisory Secretariat noted the following:
Nonfluoroscopy mapping is not necessary for simple ablation procedures (e.g., typical flutter). However, it is essential in the ablation of complex arrhythmias including these:
Symptomatic, drug-refractory atrial fibrillation
Arrhythmias in people who have had surgery for congenital heart disease (e.g., macro re-entrant tachycardia in people who have had surgery for congenital heart disease).
Ventricular tachycardia due to myocardial infarction
Atypical atrial flutter
Advanced mapping systems represent an enabling technology in the ablation of complex arrhythmias. The ablation of these complex cases would not have been feasible or advisable with fluoroscopy-guided ablation and, therefore, comparative studies would not be feasible or ethical in such cases.
Many of the studies included patients with relatively simple arrhythmias (e.g., typical atrial flutter and atrial ventricular nodal re-entrant tachycardia), for which the success rates using the fluoroscopy approach were extremely high and unlikely to be improved upon using nonfluoroscopic mapping.
By age 50, almost 100% of people who have had surgery for congenital heart disease will develop arrhythmia.
Some centres are under greater pressure because of expertise in complex ablation procedures for subsets of patients.
The use of advanced mapping systems requires the support of additional electrophysiologic laboratory time and nursing time.
For patients suffering from symptomatic, drug-refractory atrial fibrillation and are otherwise healthy, catheter ablation offers a treatment option that is less invasive than is open surgical ablation.
Small RCTs that may have been limited by type 2 errors showed significant reductions in fluoroscopy exposure in nonfluoroscopy-guided ablation and a trend toward lower overall failure rate that did not reach statistical significance.
Pooled analysis suggests that advanced mapping systems may reduce the overall failure rate in the ablation of atrial fibrillation.
Observational studies suggest that ablation guided by complex mapping/navigation systems is a promising treatment for complex arrhythmias such as highly symptomatic, drug-refractory atrial fibrillation for which rate control is not an option
In people with atrial fibrillation, ablation guided by advanced nonfluoroscopy mapping resulted in arrhythmia free rates of 80% or higher, reduced mortality, and better quality of life at experienced centres.
Although generally safe, serious complications such as stroke, atrial-esophageal, and pulmonary vein stenosis had been reported following ablation procedures.
Experts advised that advanced mapping systems are also required for catheter ablation of:
Hemodynamically unstable ventricular tachycardia from ischemic heart disease
Macro re-entrant atrial tachycardia after surgical correction of congenital heart disease
Atypical atrial flutter
Catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation is still evolving, and it appears that different ablative techniques may be appropriate depending on the characteristics of the patient and the atrial fibrillation.
Data from centres that perform electrophysiological mapping suggest that patients with drug-refractory atrial fibrillation may be the largest group with unmet need for advanced mapping-guided catheter ablation in Ontario.
Nonfluoroscopy mapping-guided pulmonary vein ablation for the treatment of atrial fibrillation has a significant learning effect; therefore, it is advisable for the province to establish centres of excellence to ensure a critical volume, to gain efficiency and to minimize the need for antiarrhythmic drugs after ablation and the need for future repeat ablation procedures.
PMCID: PMC3379531  PMID: 23074499
11.  Oral rehydration versus intravenous therapy for treating dehydration due to gastroenteritis in children: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials 
BMC Medicine  2004;2:11.
Despite treatment recommendations from various organizations, oral rehydration therapy (ORT) continues to be underused, particularly by physicians in high-income countries. We conducted a systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to compare ORT and intravenous therapy (IVT) for the treatment of dehydration secondary to acute gastroenteritis in children.
RCTs were identified through MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, authors and references of included trials, pharmaceutical companies, and relevant organizations. Screening and inclusion were performed independently by two reviewers in order to identify randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials comparing ORT and IVT in children with acute diarrhea and dehydration. Two reviewers independently assessed study quality using the Jadad scale and allocation concealment. Data were extracted by one reviewer and checked by a second. The primary outcome measure was failure of rehydration. We analyzed data using standard meta-analytic techniques.
The quality of the 14 included trials ranged from 0 to 3 (Jadad score); allocation concealment was unclear in all but one study. Using a random effects model, there was no significant difference in treatment failures (risk difference [RD] 3%; 95% confidence intervals [CI]: 0, 6). The Mantel-Haenzsel fixed effects model gave a significant difference between treatment groups (RD 4%; 95% CI: 2, 5) favoring IVT. Based on the four studies that reported deaths, there were six in the IVT groups and two in ORT. There were no significant differences in total fluid intake at six and 24 hours, weight gain, duration of diarrhea, or hypo/hypernatremia. Length of stay was significantly shorter for the ORT group (weighted mean difference [WMD] -1.2 days; 95% CI: -2.4,-0.02). Phlebitis occurred significantly more often with IVT (number needed to treat [NNT] 33; 95% CI: 25,100); paralytic ileus occurred more often with ORT (NNT 33; 95% CI: 20,100). These results may not be generalizable to children with persistent vomiting.
There were no clinically important differences between ORT and IVT in terms of efficacy and safety. For every 25 children (95% CI: 20, 50) treated with ORT, one would fail and require IVT. The results support existing practice guidelines recommending ORT as the first course of treatment in appropriate children with dehydration secondary to gastroenteritis.
PMCID: PMC419333  PMID: 15086953
12.  Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation 
Executive Summary
To review the effectiveness, safety, and costing of ablation methods to manage atrial fibrillation (AF). The ablation methods reviewed were catheter ablation and surgical ablation.
Clinical Need
Atrial fibrillation is characterized by an irregular, usually rapid, heart rate that limits the ability of the atria to pump blood effectively to the ventricles.
Atrial fibrillation can be a primary diagnosis or it may be associated with other diseases, such as high blood pressure, abnormal heart muscle function, chronic lung diseases, and coronary heart disease. The most common symptom of AF is palpitations. Symptoms caused by decreased blood flow include dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Some patients with AF do not experience any symptoms.
According to United States data, the incidence of AF increases with age, with a prevalence of 1 per 200 people aged between 50 and 60 years, and 1 per 10 people aged over 80 years. In 2004, the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) estimated that the rate of hospitalization for AF in Canada was 582.7 per 100,000 population. They also reported that of the patients discharged alive, 2.7% were readmitted within 1 year for stroke.
One United States prevalence study of AF indicated that the overall prevalence of AF was 0.95%. When the results of this study were extrapolated to the population of Ontario, the prevalence of AF in Ontario is 98,758 for residents aged over 20 years.
Currently, the first-line therapy for AF is medical therapy with antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs). There are several AADs available, because there is no one AAD that is effective for all patients. The AADs have critical adverse effects that can aggravate existing arrhythmias. The drug selection process frequently involves trial and error until the patient’s symptoms subside.
The Technology
Ablation has been frequently described as a “cure” for AF, compared with drug therapy, which controls AF but does not cure it. Ablation involves directing an energy source at cardiac tissue. For instance, radiofrequency energy uses heat to burn tissue near the source of the arrhythmia. The purpose is to create a series of scar tissue, so that the aberrant electrical pathways can no longer exist.
Because the pulmonary veins are the predominant source of AF initiation, the primary goal of ablation is to isolate the pulmonary veins from the left atria through the creation of a conduction block.
There are 2 methods of ablation: catheter ablation and surgical (operative) ablation. Radiofrequency energy is most commonly used for ablation. Catheter ablation involves inserting a catheter through the femoral vein to access the heart and burn abnormal foci of electrical activity by direct contact or by isolating them from the rest of the atrium. The surgical ablation is performed minimally invasively via direct visualization or with the assistance of a special scope for patients with lone AF.
Review Strategy
In March 2006, the following databases were searched: Cochrane Library International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (first quarter 2006), Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (first quarter 2006), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (first quarter 2006), MEDLINE (1966 to February 2006), MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-indexed Citations (1966 to March 1, 2006), and EMBASE (1980 to 2006 week 9). The Medical Advisory Secretariat also searched Medscape on the Internet for recent reports on trials that were unpublished but that were presented at international conferences. In addition, the Web site Current Controlled Trials ( was searched for ongoing trials investigating ablation for atrial fibrillation. Search terms included: radiofrequency ablation, catheter ablation and atrial fibrillation.
Summary of Findings
Sixteen RCTs were identified that compared ablation methods in patients with AF. Two studies were identified that investigated first-line therapy for AF or atrial flutter. Seven other studies examined patients with drug-refractory, lone AF; and the remaining 7 RCTs compared ablation plus heart surgery to heart surgery alone in patients with drug-refractory AF and concomitant heart conditions.
First-line Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation or Atrial Flutter
Both studies concluded that catheter ablation was associated with significantly improved long-term freedom from arrhythmias and quality of life compared with medical therapy. These studies included different patient populations (those with AF in one pilot study, and those with atrial flutter in the other). Catheter ablation as first-line treatment is considered experimental at this time.
Catheter Ablation Versus Medical Therapy in Patients With Drug-Refractory, Lone Atrial Fibrillation
In this review, catheter ablation had success rates (freedom from arrhythmia) that ranged from 42% to 90% (median, 74%) in patients with drug-refractory, lone AF. All 3 of the RCTs comparing catheter ablation to medical therapy in patients with drug-refractory, lone AF found a significant improvement in terms of freedom from arrhythmia over a minimum of 12 months follow-up (P<.05).
Ablation Plus Heart Surgery Versus Heart Surgery Alone in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation
It is clear that patients with drug-refractory AF who are undergoing concomitant heart surgery (usually mitral valve repair or replacement) benefit significantly from surgical ablation, in terms of long-term freedom from AF, without substantial additional risk compared to open heart surgery alone. This group of patients represents about 1% of the patients with atrial fibrillation, thus the majority of the burden of AF lies within the patients with lone AF (i.e. those not requiring additional heart surgery).
Catheter ablation appears to be an effective treatment for patients with drug-refractory AF whose treatment alternatives are limited. Ablation technology is continually evolving with increasing success rates associated with the ablation procedure.
PMCID: PMC3379526  PMID: 23074498
13.  Comparison of four skin preparation strategies to prevent catheter-related infection in intensive care unit (CLEAN trial): a study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2013;14:114.
Catheter-related infection is the third cause of infections in intensive care units (ICU), increasing the length of stay in ICU and hospital, mortality, and costs. Skin antisepsis is one of the most prevalent preventive measures. In this respect, it would appear preferable to recommend the use of alcoholic povidone iodine or chlorhexidine rather than aqueous povidone iodine. However, the data comparing chlorhexidine to povidone-iodine, both of them in alcoholic solutions, remain limited. Moreover, the benefits of enhanced cleaning prior to disinfection of skin that is not visibly soiled have yet to be confirmed in a randomized study.
A prospective multicenter, 2×2 factorial, randomized-controlled, assessor-blind trial will be conducted in 11 intensive care units in six French hospitals. All adult patients aged over 18 years requiring the insertion of at least one peripheral arterial catheter and/or a non-tunneled central venous catheter and/or a hemodialysis catheter and/or an arterial pulmonary catheter will be randomly assigned to have all their catheters cared with one of four skin preparation strategies (2% chlorhexidine/70% isopropyl alcohol or 5% povidone iodine/69% ethanol with or without prior skin scrubbing). At catheter removal, catheter tips will be quantitatively cultured. Sets of aerobic and anaerobic blood cultures will be routinely obtained when a patient has fever, hypothermia, or other indications. In case of suspected catheter-related infection the patient’s form will be reviewed by an independent adjudication committee. We plan to enroll 2,400 patients (4,800 catheters). The main objective is to demonstrate that use of 2% alcoholic chlorhexidine compared to 5% alcoholic povidone iodine in skin preparation lowers the rate of catheter-related infection. The second endpoint is to demonstrate that enhanced skin cleaning prior to disinfection of skin that is not visibly soiled does not reduce catheter colonization. Other outcomes include comparison of skin colonization at catheter insertion site, comparison of catheter colonization and catheter-related bacteremia taking place during implementation of the four strategies of skin preparation, and cutaneous tolerance, length of hospitalization, mortality, and costs.
This study will help to update recommendations on the choice of an antiseptic agent to use in skin preparation prior to insertion of a vascular catheter and, by extension, of an epidural catheter and it will likewise help to update recommendations on the usefulness of skin scrubbing prior to disinfection when the skin is not visibly soiled.
Trial registration number NCT01629550
PMCID: PMC3680971  PMID: 23782845
Central venous catheter; Arterial catheter; Colonization; Bacteremia; Severely ill patient
14.  Can a New Antiseptic Agent Reduce the Bacterial Colonization Rate of Central Venous Lines in Post-Cardiac Surgery Patients? 
Central venous (CV) catheters play an essential role in the management of critically ill patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). CV lines are, however, allied to catheter-associated blood stream infections. Bacterial colonization of CV lines is deemed the main cause of catheter-associated infection. The purpose of our study was to compare bacterial colony counts in the catheter site before CV line insertion in two groups of post-cardiac surgery patients: a group receiving Sanosil (an antiseptic agent composed of H2O2 and silver) and a control group.
This interventional prospective double-blinded clinical trial recruited the patients in three post-cardiac surgery ICUs of a heart center. The participants were divided into interventional (113 patients) and control (136 patients) groups. Sanosil was added to the routine preparation procedure (Chlorhexidine bath one day before and scrub with Povidone-Iodine just before the CV line insertion). After the removal of the CV lines, the catheters tips were sent for culture and evaluation of colony counts.
Catheter colonization occurred in 55 (22.1%) patients: 26 (23%) patients in the Sanosil group and 29 (21.3%) in the control group; there was no significant statistical difference between the two groups (p value = 0.75, RR = 1.05, 95% CI: 0.76–1.45). The most common organism having colonized in the cultures of the catheter tips was staphylococcus epidermis: 20 cases in the control group and 16 cases in the intervention group.
Catheter colonization frequently occurs in post-cardiac surgery patients. However, our results did not indicate the effectiveness of adding Sanosil to the routine preparation procedure with respect to reducing catheter bacterial colonization.
PMCID: PMC3740112  PMID: 23967028
Central venous catheters; Infection; Anti-infective agents, local
15.  Ethanol Lock Therapy (E-Lock) in the Prevention of Catheter-Related Bloodstream Infections (CR-BSI) after Major Heart Surgery (MHS): A Randomized Clinical Trial 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91838.
Lock-therapy with antimicrobials has been used for the treatment and prevention of catheter-related bloodstream infections (CR-BSI). Experiences with Ethanol-Locks (E-locks) have included therapeutic interventions with variable results. Patients undergoing Major Heart Surgery (MHS) are a high-risk population for CR-BSI.The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy and tolerance to E-Locks in the prevention of CR-BSI of patients undergoing MHS.
Methods and Findings
This is an academic, prospective, randomized, non-blinded and controlled clinical trial assessing the incidence of CR-BSI of patients with E-locks (E-lock) and the tolerance to the procedure in comparison with patients receiving conventional catheter-care (CCC). Patients undergoing MHS with intravascular catheters for more than 48 hours were randomly assigned into treatment or control group by a computer-generated list of randomly assigned numbers. In the treatment group, all their catheter lumens were locked with an ethanol solution at 70% for two hours, every three days (E-Locks). The control group received conventional catheter-care (CCC).
Overall, 200 patients with 323 catheters were included in the study, which was stopped after 10 months due to adverse events. Of them, 179 catheters (113 patients) had E-Locks and 144 catheters (87 patients) were CCC. Euroscore Surgical Risk in both groups was 4.04 vs 4.07 p = 0.94 respectively. The results for the E-Locks and CCC were as follows: Incidence of CR-BSI/1000 days of exposure 2.1 vs 5.2 (p = 0.33), catheter tip colonization 14 (7.8%) vs 6 (4.2%) patients (p = 0.17), median length of hospital stay, 15 vs 16 days (p = 0.77). Seven patients (6.19%), all in the ethanol branch, had to discontinue the trial due to intolerance or adverse events.
We do not recommend prophylaxis of CR-BSI with ethanol-lock on a routine basis in patients undergoing Major Heart Surgery.
Trial Registration
Clinical NCT01229592
PMCID: PMC3967996  PMID: 24675993
16.  Peripherally inserted central venous catheters. Low-risk alternatives for ongoing venous access. 
Western Journal of Medicine  1994;160(1):25-30.
We prospectively evaluated the use of peripherally inserted central venous catheters to provide ongoing venous access in general medical and surgical patients in a Department of Veterans Affairs medical center. Between 1985 and 1988 trained nurses successfully inserted 393 catheters in 460 suitable patients (an 85.4% success rate). Correct catheter tip placement in the superior vena cava was documented in 359 of the 393 (91.3%) catheter insertions, but an additional 30 catheters were in a position deemed adequate for the intended use. The mean duration of catheter use was 27.6 +/- 5.2 (1 standard deviation) days (median 20 days, range 1 to 370 days). A total of 65 patients left the hospital with catheters in place, with the mean length of catheter use at home being 36.2 +/- 6.0 days (range 2 to 266). In all, 79% of the catheters were in use until the successful completion of therapy or patient death; catheter-related complications led to premature catheter removal in the remaining 21%. Catheter-related complications included bland phlebitis (8.2%), occlusion (8.2%), local infection (3.6%), bacteremia or fungemia (2.1%), mechanical failure or rupture (2.6%), venous thrombosis (0.7%), and other (3.3%). One patient required vein excision for the management of suppurative phlebitis, but no deaths were attributed to catheter use. This study illustrates the use and safety of peripherally inserted central venous catheters to provide reliable vascular access over prolonged periods in an elderly veteran population. At our facility, percutaneous central venous catheters and surgically implanted (Hickman or Broviac) catheters are now reserved for use in patients in whom peripherally inserted catheters cannot be placed.
PMCID: PMC1022250  PMID: 8128698
17.  A randomised controlled trial of Heparin versus EthAnol Lock THerapY for the prevention of Catheter Associated infecTion in Haemodialysis patients – the HEALTHY-CATH trial 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:146.
Tunnelled central venous dialysis catheter use is significantly limited by the occurrence of catheter-related infections. This randomised controlled trial assessed the efficacy of a 48 hour 70% ethanol lock vs heparin locks in prolonging the time to the first episode of catheter related blood stream infection (CRBSI).
Patients undergoing haemodialysis (HD) via a tunnelled catheter were randomised 1:1 to once per week ethanol locks (with two heparin locks between other dialysis sessions) vs thrice per week heparin locks.
Observed catheter days in the heparin (n=24) and ethanol (n=25) groups were 1814 and 3614 respectively. CRBSI occurred at a rate of 0.85 vs. 0.28 per 1000 catheter days in the heparin vs ethanol group by intention to treat analysis (incident rate ratio (IRR) for ethanol vs. heparin 0.17; 95%CI 0.02-1.63; p=0.12). Flow issues requiring catheter removal occurred at a rate of 1.6 vs 1.4 per 1000 catheter days in the heparin and ethanol groups respectively (IRR 0.85; 95% CI 0.20-3.5 p =0.82 (for ethanol vs heparin).
Catheter survival and catheter-related blood stream infection were not significantly different but there was a trend towards a reduced rate of infection in the ethanol group. This study establishes proof of concept and will inform an adequately powered multicentre trial to definitively examine the efficacy and safety of ethanol locks as an alternative to current therapies used in the prevention of catheter-associated blood stream infections in patients dialysing with tunnelled catheters.
Trial Registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12609000493246
PMCID: PMC3531247  PMID: 23121768
Catheter related blood stream infection (CRBSI); Central venous catheter; Ethanol; Lock therapy; Haemodialysis (HD); Prophylaxis
18.  Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP) 
Executive Summary
To assess the effectiveness, and cost effectiveness of EECP in patients with severe anginal symptoms, secondary to chronic coronary disease, who are unresponsive to exhaustive pharmacotherapy and not candidates for surgical/percutaneous revascularization procedures (e.g., angioplasty, coronary bypass surgery).
To assess the effectiveness, and cost effectiveness of EECP in patients with heart failure.
Clinical Need
Angina is a clinical syndrome characterized by discomfort in the chest, jaw, shoulder, back or arm. Angina usually occurs in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) involving ≥1 large epicardial artery. However it can also occur in people with valvular heart disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and uncontrolled hypertension.
Conventional approaches to restoring the balance between oxygen supply and demand focus on the disruption of the underlying disease through: drug therapy (β blockers, calcium channel blockers, nitrates, antiplatelet agents, ACE inhibitors, statins); life-style modifications (smoking cessation, weight loss); or revascularization techniques such as coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) or percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI). (1) Limitations of each of these approaches include: adverse drug effects, procedure-related mortality and morbidity, restenosis after PCI, and time dependent graft attrition after CABG. Furthermore, an increasing number of patients are not appropriate candidates for standard revascularization options, due to co-morbid conditions (HF, peripheral vascular disease), poor distal coronary artery targets, and patient preference. The morbidity and mortality associated with repeat surgical revascularization procedures are significantly higher, and often excludes these patients from consideration for further revascularizations. (2)
Patients with CAD who have chronic ischemic symptoms that are unresponsive to both conventional medical therapy and revascularization techniques have refractory angina pectoris. It has been estimated that greater than 100,000 patients each year in the US may be diagnosed as having this condition. (3) Patients with refractory angina have marked limitation of ordinary physical activity or are unable to perform any ordinary physical activity without discomfort (CCS functional class III/IV). Also, there must be some objective evidence of ischemia as demonstrated by exercise treadmill testing, stress imaging studies or coronary physiologic studies. (1)
Dejongste et al. (4)estimated that the prevalence of chronic refractory angina is about 100,000 patients in the United States. This would correspond to approximately 3,800 (100,000 x 3.8% [Ontario is approximately 3.8% of the population of the United States]) patients in Ontario having chronic refractory angina.
Heart Failure
Heart failure results from any structural or functional cardiac disorder that impairs the ability of the heart to act as a pump.
A recent study (5) revealed 28,702 patients were hospitalized for first-time HF in Ontario between April 1994 and March 1997. Women comprised 51% of the cohort. Eighty-five percent were aged 65 years or older, and 58% were aged 75 years or older.
Patients with chronic HF experience shortness of breath, a limited capacity for exercise, high rates of hospitalization and rehospitalization, and die prematurely. (6) The New York Heart Association (NYHA) has provided a commonly used functional classification for the severity of HF (7):
Class I: No limitation of physical activity. No symptoms with ordinary exertion.
Class II: Slight limitations of physical activity. Ordinary activity causes symptoms.
Class III: Marked limitation of physical activity. Less than ordinary activity causes symptoms. Asymptomatic at rest.
Class IV: Inability to carry out any physical activity without discomfort. Symptoms at rest.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (7) estimates that 35% of patients with HF are in functional NYHA class I; 35% are in class II; 25%, class III; and 5%, class IV. Surveys (8) suggest that from 5% to 15% of patients with HF have persistent severe symptoms, and that the remainder of patients with HF is evenly divided between those with mild and moderately severe symptoms.
To date, the diagnosis and management of chronic HF has concentrated on patients with the clinical syndrome of HF accompanied by severe left ventricular systolic dysfunction. Major changes in treatment have resulted from a better understanding of the pathophysiology of HF and the results of large clinical trials. Treatment for chronic HF includes lifestyle management, drugs, cardiac surgery, or implantable pacemakers and defibrillators. Despite pharmacologic advances, which include diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, beta-blockers, spironolactone, and digoxin, many patients remain symptomatic on maximally tolerated doses. (6)
The Technology
Patients are typically treated by a trained technician in a medically supervised environment for 1 hour daily for a total of 35 hours over 7 weeks. The procedure involves sequential inflation and deflation of compressible cuffs wrapped around the patient’s calves, lower thighs and upper thighs. In addition to 3 sets of cuffs, the patient has finger plethysmogram and electrocardiogram (ECG) attachments that are connected to a control and display console.
External counterpulsation was used in the United States to treat cardiogenic shock after acute myocardial infarction. (9;10) More recently, an enhanced version namely “enhanced external counterpulsation” (EECP) was introduced as a noninvasive procedure for outpatient treatment of patients with severe, uncontrollable cardiac ischemia. EECP is said to increase coronary perfusion pressure and reduce the myocardial oxygen demand. Currently, EECP is not applicable for all patients with refractory angina pectoris. For example, many patients are considered ineligible for therapy due to co-morbidities, including those with severe pulmonary vascular disease, deep vein thrombosis, phlebitis and irregular heart rhythms, and heart failure. (1)
Very recently, investigation began into EECP as an adjunctive treatment for patients with HF. Anecdotal reports suggested that EECP may benefit patients with coronary disease and left ventricular dysfunction. The safety and effectiveness of EECP in patients with symptomatic heart failure and coronary disease and its role in patients with nonischemic heart failure secondary to LV dysfunction is unclear. Furthermore, the safety and effectiveness of EECP in the different stages of HF and whether it is only for patients who are refractive to pharmacotherapy is unknown.
2003 Health Technology Assessment by the Medical Advisory Secretariat
The Medical Advisory Secretariat health technology assessment (originally published in February 2003) reported on the effectiveness of EECP for patients with angina and HF. The report concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support the use of EECP in patients with refractory stable CCS III/IV angina as well as insufficient evidence to support the use of EECP in patients with HF.
Review Strategy
The aim of this literature review was to assess the effectiveness, safety, and cost effectiveness of EECP for the treatment of refractory stable CCS III/IV angina or HF.
The standard search strategy used by the Medical Advisory Secretariat was used. This included a search of all international health technology assessments as well as a search of the medical literature from December 2002 to March 2006.
A modification of the GRADE approach (11) was used to make judgments about the quality of evidence and strength of recommendations systematically and explicitly. GRADE provides a framework for structured reflection and can help to ensure that appropriate judgments are made. GRADE takes into account a study’s design, quality, consistency, and directness in judging the quality of evidence for each outcome. The balance between benefits and harms, quality of evidence, applicability, and the certainty of the baseline risks are considered in judgments about the strength of recommendations.
Summary of Findings
The Cochrane and INAHTA databases yielded 3 HTAs or systematic reviews on EECP treatment (Blue Cross Blue Shield Technology Evaluation Center [BCBS TEC], ECRI, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS]). A search of Medline and Embase December 2005 – March 2006 (after the literature search cutoff from the most recent HTA) was conducted using key words enhanced external counterpulsation, EECP, angina, myocardial ischemia, congestive heart failure. This search produced 1 study which met the inclusion criteria. This level 4a study was inferior in quality to the RCT which formed the basis of the 2003 Medical Advisory Secretariat recommendation.
BCBS reviewed the evidence through November 2005 to determine if EECP improves health outcomes for refractory chronic stable angina pectoris or chronic stable HF. (12) BCBS concluded that the available evidence is not sufficient to permit conclusions of the effect of EECP on health outcomes. Both controlled trials had methodologic flaws (MUST EECP and MUST EECP quality of life studies). The case series and observational studies for both indications while suggestive of a treatment benefit from EECP have shortcomings as well.
On March 20 2006, CMS posted their proposed coverage decision memorandum for external counterpulsation therapy. (13) Overall, CMS stated that the evidence is not adequate to conclude that external counterpulsation therapy is reasonable and necessary for:
Canadian Cardiovascular Society Classification (CCSC) II angina
Heart failure
NYHA class II/III stable HF symptoms with an EF≤35%
NYHA class II/III stable HF symptoms with an EF≤40%
NYHA class IV HF
Acute HF
Cardiogenic shock
Acute MI
In January 2005, ECRI (14) stated that there was insufficient evidence available to draw conclusions about the long-term effectiveness of EECP, with respect to morbidity, survival, or quality of life, for any coronary indication (refractory angina, congestive heart failure, cardiogenic shock and acute MI).
GRADE Quality of the Studies
According to the GRADE Working Group criteria, the quality of the trials was examined (Table 1). (11)
Quality refers to the criteria such as the adequacy of allocation concealment, blinding and followup.
Consistency refers to the similarity of estimates of effect across studies. If there is important unexplained inconsistency in the results, our confidence in the estimate of effect for that outcome decreases. Differences in the direction of effect, the size of the differences in effect and the significance of the differences guide the decision about whether important inconsistency exists.
Directness refers to the extent to which the people interventions and outcome measures are similar to those of interest. For example, there may be uncertainty about the directness of the evidence if the people of interest are older, sicker or have more comorbidity than those in the studies.
As stated by the GRADE Working Group, the following definitions were used in grading the quality of the evidence. (11)
GRADE Quality of Studies
Economic Analysis - Literature Review
No economic analysis of EECP was identified in the published literature.
Estimated Prevalence of Angina in Ontario
3,800 patients with chronic refractory angina:
The number of patients with chronic refractory angina in the US is estimated to be approximately 100,000 (4), this corresponds to about 3,800 patients in Ontario (3.8% × 100,000) with refractory angina.
3,800 patients × $7,000 Cdn (approximate cost for a full course of therapy) ~ $26.6M Cdn.
Estimated Prevalence of Heart Failure in Ontario
23,700 patients EF ≤ 0.35:
This estimate is from an expert (personal communication) at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), where they examined a sample of echocardiography studies drawn from a diagnostic lab in 2001. They found that the prevalence of EF ≤ 0.35 was 8.3%, and if generalized to all patients undergoing echocardiography, there would be 23,700 patients.
23,700 patients with EF ≤35% × $7,000 Cdn ~ $166 M Cdn.
There is insufficient evidence to support the effectiveness and safety of EECP treatment for patients with refractory stable CCS III-IV angina or HF.
As per the GRADE Working Group, overall recommendations consider 4 main factors. (11)
The tradeoffs, taking into account the estimated size of the effect for the main outcome, the confidence limits around those estimates and the relative value placed on the outcome.
The quality of the evidence.
Translation of the evidence into practice in a specific setting, taking into consideration important factors that could be expected to modify the size of the expected effects such as proximity to a hospital or availability of necessary expertise.
Uncertainty about the baseline risk for the population of interest.
The GRADE Working Group also recommends that incremental costs of healthcare alternatives should be considered explicitly alongside the expected health benefits and harms. (11) Recommendations rely on judgments about the value of the incremental health benefits in relation to the incremental costs. The last column in Table 2 is the overall trade-off between benefits and harms and incorporates any risk/uncertainty.
For angina and heart failure, the overall GRADE and strength of the recommendations is “weak” – the quality of the evidence is “low” (uncertainties due to methodological limitations in the study design in terms of study quality and directness), and the corresponding risk/uncertainty is increased due to a budget impact of approximately $26.6 M Cdn or $166 M Cdn respectively while the cost-effectiveness of EECP is unknown and difficult to estimate considering that there are no high quality studies of effectiveness.
Overall GRADE and Strength of Recommendation (Including Uncertainty)
PMCID: PMC3379533  PMID: 23074496
19.  Novel approach to antibiotic prophylaxis in percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG): randomised controlled trial 
Objective To evaluate a new and simpler strategy of antibiotic prophylaxis in percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG).
Design Single centre, two arm, randomised, controlled, double blind clinical trial.
Setting Endoscopy unit in Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden, between 3 June 2005 and 31 October 2009.
Participants 234 patients with an indication for PEG who gave informed consent to participate.
Intervention A single 20 ml dose of the oral solution of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (also known as co-trimoxazole or Bactrim; F Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Basel, Switzerland) deposited in the PEG catheter immediately after insertion. The control group received standard prophylaxis consisting of a single intravenous dose of 1.5 g cefuroxime (Zinacef; GlaxoSmithKline, London) administered before insertion of the PEG tube.
Main outcome measure Primary outcome was the occurrence of clinically evident wound infection within 14 days after insertion of the PEG catheter. Secondary outcomes were positive bacterial culture and blood tests (highly sensitive C reactive protein and white blood cell count). All randomised patients were included in an intention to treat analysis.
Results Of the 234 patients included in this study, 116 were randomly assigned to co-trimoxazole and 118 to cefuroxime. At follow-up 7-14 days after insertion of the PEG catheter, wound infection was found in 10 (8.6%) patients in the co-trimoxazole group and 14 (11.9%) in the cefuroxime group, which corresponds to a percentage point difference of −3.3% (95% confidence interval −10.9% to 4.5%). The per protocol analysis, which comprised 100 patients in each group, gave similar results—10% and 13% infection in the co-trimoxazole and cefuroxime groups, respectively (percentage point difference −3.0%, 95% CI −11.8% to 5.8%). Both these analyses indicate non-inferiority of co-trimoxazole compared with cefuroxime because the upper bounds of the confidence intervals are lower than the pre-determined non-inferiority margin of 15%. Analyses of the secondary outcomes supported this finding.
Conclusion 20 ml of co-trimoxazole solution deposited in a newly inserted PEG catheter is at least as effective as cefuroxime prophylaxis given intravenously before PEG at preventing wound infections in patients undergoing PEG.
Trial registration Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN18677736.
PMCID: PMC2896486  PMID: 20601414
20.  Risk Factors for Peripherally Inserted Central Venous Catheter Complications in Children 
JAMA pediatrics  2013;167(5):429-435.
To characterize the epidemiology and identify risk factors for complications necessitating removal of peripherally inserted central venous catheters (PICCs) in children.
Cohort study
The Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore, Maryland.
Hospitalized children who had a PICC inserted outside of the neonatal ICU between January 1, 2003 and December 1, 2009.
Main Exposures
Age, PICC dwell time, PICC insertion site, PICC tip location, pediatric ICU exposure, indication for PICC insertion
Outcome Measures
Complications necessitating PICC removal as recorded by the PICC Team.
During the study period, 2574 PICCs were placed in 1807 children. Complications necessitating catheter removal occurred in 20.8% of PICCs during 46,021 catheter days (11.6 complications per 1,000 catheter days). These included accidental dislodgement (4.6%), infection (4.3%), occlusion (3.6%), local infiltration (3.0%), leakage (1.5%), breaks (1.4%), phlebitis (1.2%) and thrombosis (0.5%). From 2003 to 2009 complications decreased by 15% per year (IRR 0.85; 95%CI 0.81-0.89). In adjusted analysis, all non-central PICC tip locations - midline (IRR 4.59, 95% CI 3.69-5.69), mid-clavicular (IRR 2.15, 95% CI 1.54-2.98), and other (IRR 3.26 95% CI 1.72-6.15) - compared to central tip location were associated with an increased risk of complications. Pediatric ICU exposure and age less than one year old were independently associated with complications necessitating PICC removal.
Non-central PICC tip locations, younger age, and pediatric ICU exposure were independent risk factors for complications necessitating PICC removal. Despite reductions in PICC complications, further efforts are needed to prevent PICC-associated complications in children.
PMCID: PMC3647026  PMID: 23549677
Catheter-Related infection; Pediatrics; Catheters; Epidemiology
21.  Prospective multicenter study of vascular-catheter-related complications and risk factors for positive central-catheter cultures in intensive care unit patients. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1990;28(11):2520-2525.
To determine the incidence rate of complications associated with vascular catheters in intensive care unit patients and to analyze risk factors for a positive vascular culture, we performed a multicenter study of intensive care unit patients at eight French hospitals. During the study period, 865 intravenous catheters were inserted in 566 patients; 362 (41.8%) were peripheral catheters, and 503 (58.2%) were central catheters. Local complications (i.e., infiltration) occurred significantly more often with peripheral than with central catheters (P less than 0.001); in contrast, fever and bacteremia were significantly more often associated with central than with peripheral catheters (P less than 0.01 and P less than 0.05, respectively). The culture of the vascular-catheter tip was positive for 24% of central catheters (32 of 1,000 catheters days) and for 9% of peripheral catheters (21 of 1,000 catheters days). Staphylococcus epidermidis was the most common microorganism isolated from both peripheral and central catheters, followed by Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. No significant risk factor associated with positive cultures for peripheral catheters was found by univariate analysis. In contrast, the purpose of the cannula (nutrition and monitoring of central venous pressure), the insertion site (jugular), the dressing type (semipermeable transparent dressing), the antiseptic used to prepare the insertion site (povidone iodine), and routine changing of the intravenous administration set were significantly associated with positive cultures of central catheters. Three factors, duration of catheterization, use of a semipermeable transparent dressing, and the jugular insertion site, were found to be independently associated with positive cultures of central catheters by multivariate analysis.
PMCID: PMC268218  PMID: 2254429
22.  A cost-effectiveness study of the management of intractable urinary incontinence by urinary catheterisation or incontinence pads. 
STUDY OBJECTIVE--The aim was to compare the costs and effects of management of intractable urinary incontinence by urinary catheterisation or incontinence pads. DESIGN--This was a prospective, randomised study comparing catheterisation with pads, supplemented by additional data collected from patients with chronic indwelling catheters. Main outcome measures were costs of equipment, nursing time, patient preference, nursing preference, and clinical and bacteriological assessment of urinary infection. SUBJECTS--78 intractably incontinent elderly female patients were randomly allocated to management by urinary catheter or pads and toileting. Supplementary data on equipment costs and nursing time were collected from 27 patients, of whom 22 were already catheterised at the time of the randomisation and five were catheterised by the nursing staff after the last date for entry into the randomisation. MAIN RESULTS--Of the 38 patients randomised to catheterisation, 14 refused consent so only 24 were catheterised on day 1 of the study. There was a rapid removal of catheters, especially in the first six weeks of the study and only four of the randomised catheter patients completed the full 26 weeks of the study. However, eight of the pads patients were catheterised between the 7th and 22nd week because of deteriorating general condition and all retained their catheters for the remainder of the study period. Of 35 patients who had experienced catheters and pads, 12 expressed a clear preference for catheters, 12 for pads, and 11 were undecided. Nurses were in favour of the use of pads, mainly because of concerns about urinary infection with catheters. Comparing costs for patients managed with catheters (532 patient weeks) or pads (903 patient weeks), catheter patients required less nursing time (15.4 v 29.0 h per patient per week) but equipment costs were higher (19.20-24.65 pounds v 8.79-11.35 pounds per patient per week), mainly because of the cost of catheter care (12.75 pounds per patient per week). Asymptomatic bacteriuria was prevalent in both groups but 73% of catheterised patients received treatment for clinical signs of infection compared with 40% of pads patients. Only 30% of patients who were treated had any generalised symptoms of infection. CONCLUSIONS--Use of catheters reduces nursing time but may increase weekly equipment costs depending on the cost of laundry. Despite the high dropout rate among patients randomised to catheters a minority of patients (12/35) expressed a clear preference for catheters and we believe that more patients with intractable incontinence should be given a trial of catheterisation to assess acceptability. Bacteriuria was prevalent in pads or catheter patients but no major episodes of invasive infection were noted in either group.
PMCID: PMC1059555  PMID: 1645076
23.  Bismuth coating of non-tunneled haemodialysis catheters reduces bacterial colonization: a randomized controlled trial 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2010;25(8):2651-2656.
Background. Haemodialysis (HD) catheter-related blood stream infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with acute and chronic renal failure.
Methods. We conducted a randomized, prospective, double-blinded trial investigating the clinical value of bismuth-coated non-tunneled HD catheters in patients in need of temporary short-term vascular access. A standard catheter (SC) was compared to a surface-modified, bismuth-film-coated catheter (FCC). After removal of the catheter for any reason, both arterial and venous lumina were rinsed and the fluid cultured for detection of bacterial colony-forming units (CFU). The catheter tip was placed in a tube containing sterile saline, sonicated and shortly centrifuged to remove debris (3 min at 1000 g). The supernatant was cultured and assayed for DNA content.
Results. Seventy-seven patients in three HD units were randomized. Thirteen patients suffered from acute renal failure, 60 patients from chronic renal failure, and four patients without renal insufficiency were treated with plasma exchange. The time to catheter removal was not significantly different between groups, with a mean of 18.5 ± 2 days for SC and 15.1 ± 2 days for FCC. In most cases, the reasons for catheter removal were related to no further need for extracorporeal therapy or establishment of a permanent vascular access. Six catheters for SC and four catheters for FCC were removed because of presumed infection. Bacterial colonization was significantly lower for coated catheters compared to standard catheters, both for cultured catheter tips as well as for CFU in rinse fluids (P < 0.05).
Conclusions. Surface modification with bismuth film reduces bacterial colonization of temporary non-tunneled HD catheters in a clinical trial. Larger trials with these modified catheters are justified to further investigate the effect on catheter-related infections, complications and costs.
PMCID: PMC2905443  PMID: 20237055
bismuth; catheters; haemodialysis; infection; sepsis
24.  Influence of fine-bore catheter length on infusion thrombophlebitis in peripheral intravenous nutrition: a randomised controlled trial. 
Previous studies indicated that the risk of thrombophlebitis associated with continuous infusion of intravenous nutrition (IVN) via peripheral veins was reduced when fine-bore catheters, inserted to 15 cm, were used in place of standard intravenous cannulas. An explanation has not been identified, but may be owing to the greater length of the catheters. A randomised controlled study was performed in which a standard nutritional solution was infused via 22G polyurethane catheters inserted to a length of either 5 cm or 15 cm. Catheters were reviewed twice each day and removed when complications occurred, or when IVN was no longer required. There was no significant difference in median time to thrombophlebitis or extravasation, or in daily risk of thrombophlebitis, between insertion lengths. Survival proportions were similar for each length at all times. Catheters inserted into cephalic veins were more prone to thrombophlebitis or extravasation (nine episodes, 14 catheters) than catheters inserted into basilic veins (five episodes, 24 catheters, P = 0.009). The survival proportion was at all times greater when catheter tips lay in basilic veins. Thus, the risk of thrombophlebitis or extravasation was not influenced by the length of catheter within the vein. However, the vein in which the catheter tip lay appeared to influence the development of morbidity.
PMCID: PMC2502878  PMID: 9196346
25.  Heparin is not required for peripheral intravenous locks in neonates 
Paediatrics & Child Health  1999;4(1):39-42.
To determine the relative efficacy and safety of peripheral intravenous locks maintained with heparin saline solutions compared with those maintained with normal saline.
Randomized, controlled trial comparing the two methods of maintaining peripheral intravenous locks.
Infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Foothills Hospital, Calgary, Alberta.
Neonates requiring the maintenance of intravenous locks for medications, primarily antibiotics, were randomly placed in either a heparin saline (n=93) or normal saline (n=93) group.
Patients were chosen to receive either heparinized saline (5 units/mL) or normal saline, 0.3 mL in the intravenous catheter every 6 h, administered by nursing staff in a blinded manner.
There was no difference in catheter lifespan (39±24 h for the heparinized saline group; 34±22 h for the normal saline group) and no difference in the number of intravenous catheters per patient (1.9 heparinized group, 1.6 normal saline group). There were no differences in the reasons for catheter removal, complications at the skin site or systemic bleeding including intracranial hemorrhage between the two groups. The risk of catheter occlusion was inversely correlated with gestational age and the administration of vancomycin and cefotaxime versus ampicillin and gentamicin.
Heparin is not required for the maintenance of peripheral intravenous locks in neonates regardless of the solution used. Catheter occlusion is more likely to be associated with a low gestational age and the administration of vancomycin and cefotaxime versus ampicillin and gentamicin.
PMCID: PMC2828225  PMID: 20212988
Heparin; Intravenous locks; Neonates; Saline

Results 1-25 (1168309)