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Open Access Effect of Covalently Bound Heparin Coating on Patency and Biocompatibility of Long-term Indwelling Catheters in the Rat Jugular Vein

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Many physiologic and pharmacologic studies require long-term vascular access for repeated substance infusion and/or blood sample collection. The study reported here was undertaken to determine whether a functionally active heparin coating would improve long-term patency of venous catheters in rats. Uncoated or coated catheters were surgically placed in the jugular vein, and patency was evaluated twice weekly for a total of 30 days. Culturing of blood and catheters, and histologic examination were performed for all rats. All heparin-coated catheters remained patent for the study duration, with patency defined as ability to infuse saline and withdraw a blood sample. Median patency for uncoated catheters was 17.5 days, with a range of three to 30 days. Histologic evaluation of vessels revealed more advanced and severe lesions in rats with uncoated, compared with coated catheters. Furthermore, uncoated catheters had increased association with bacteremia (3/8), compared with coated (0/9) catheters. Taken together, these results indicate that coating catheters with covalently bound heparin molecules can significantly prolong patency and cause less pathologic damage to the catheterized vessel.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Center for Comparative Medicine, University of Virginia, Post Office Box 800737, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908 2: 900 Chestnut Tree Hill Road, Southbury, Connecticut, Ridgefield, Connecticut 06877-0368

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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