Standard treatment of catheter-associated upper extremity deep vein thrombosis (UEDVT) is anticoagulation, although catheters are often removed for this indication. The optimal time for catheter removal and whether the act and/or timing of catheter removal is associated with pulmonary embolism (PE) remain unknown. A retrospective cohort study was performed at 8 participating institutions through the Venous thromboEmbolism Network US. Patients with hematologic malignancies and central venous catheter (CVC)-associated UE-DVT were included from 1 January 2010 through 31 December 2016. The primary outcome was objectively confirmed PE within 7 days of UE-DVT diagnosis in anticoagulated patients comparing early (≥48 hours) vs delayed (>48 hours) catheter removal. A total of 626 patients were included, among whom 480 were treated with anticoagulation. Among anticoagulated patients, 255 underwent early CVC removal, while 225 had delayed or no CVC removal; 146 patients received no anticoagulation, among whom 116 underwent CVC removal alone. PE within 7 days occurred in 2 patients (0.78%) with early removal compared with 1 patient (0.44%) with delayed or no CVC removal (P>.9). PE or any cause of death within 7 days occurred in 3 patients in both the early removal (1.18%) and delayed/no removal (1.33%) groups (P > .9). In patients treated with CVC removal only (no anticoagulation), there were no PEs but 3 deaths within 7 days. In patients with hematological malignancy and CVC-associated UE-DVT, early removal of CVCs was not associated with an increased risk of PE compared with delayed or no removal.
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