Patient Education Blog

Catheter-Associated Blood Clots of Arm and Neck in Patients With Cancer

Stephan Moll, MD writes… Patients with cancer may have catheters in veins in their upper chest, neck or arm (central venous catheter,  port), to enable chemotherapy, fluids or blood products to be given. These catheters increase a patient’s risk for developing an arm or neck clot (DVT) leading to arm or neck swelling, pain, and may be warmth and reddish discoloration. Typically, blood thinners are used in this situation to prevent the clot from getting bigger or breaking off and traveling to the lung to cause a lung clot (pulmonary embolism; PE). Limited data exist how to best manage these catheter-associated DVTs.

This week (Feb 18th, 2014) a guidance document on the prevention and management of catheter-associated upper extremity and neck  DVT was published by one of the respected medical societies (International Society for Thrombosis and Haemostasis; ISTH) [ref 1].

A summary of the conclusions and treatment recommendations for health care professionals has been published on Clot Connect here.



Zwicker JI et al. Catheter-associated deep vein thrombosis of the upper extremity in cancer patients: guidance from the SSC of the ISTH. Feb 18th, 2014 (pre-published on the web) – link to abstract here.


Disclosures:  I have no relevant financial disclosures.

Last updated:  Feb 20th, 2014

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