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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Recurrent bilateral pleural effusions secondary to superior vena cava obstruction as a complication of central venous catheterization.

Five babies (birth weight 730 to 1,120 g) who developed bilateral pleural effusions as a complication of the use of central venous catheters are described. The effusions occurred seven to 19 days after initial placement or change of a central venous catheter. All required repeated thoracenteses to remove fluid accumulation of up to 200 mL/kg/d. The fluid was a clear transudate, but it became chylous when feedings were given. Venograms and autopsies demonstrated obstruction of the superior vena cava with drainage occurring through collaterals to the azygous vein and inferior vena cava. Silastic gas-sterilized catheters implanted in animals for four and 24 hours showed fibrin deposition when scanned by electron microscopy. No deposition occurred on autoclaved catheters after four hours and there was minimal deposition after 24 hours. It may be concluded that the pleural effusions resulted from obstruction of thoracic lymph flow into the venous system. Vena caval thrombosis may have been enhanced by 2-chloroethanol or ethylene oxide residues from gas sterilization of Silastic catheters.[1]


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