Varied opinions on thrombolysis for venous thromboembolism in infants and children: Findings from a survey of pediatric hematology-oncology specialists
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BACKGROUND: Recent guidelines discourage routine use of thrombolytic agents for treatment of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in pediatric patients, but actual practice patterns are unknown. PROCEDURE: An electronic survey was emailed to all active and trainee members of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology in April 2008. Respondents were asked a series of multiple-choice questions based on hypothetical case scenarios describing pediatric VTE, pertinent to the implementation of thrombolytic therapy and other professional demographic information. RESULTS: Two hundred eighty-five evaluable responses were obtained (22% response rate) which varied greatly with respect to all spheres of questioning. Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) was the thrombolytic agent chosen by most respondents, but no clear consensus emerged as to appropriate indications (although preference for thrombolytic therapy increased with severity of the posed clinical scenario), mode of tPA delivery (systemic vs. catheter-directed), dose (high-dose vs. low-dose regimen) or a suitable maximum duration of therapy (range: 1-168 hr; varied according to specific dosing regimen chosen). Expertise in pediatric thrombosis, years out from fellowship training and volume of experience with cases of pediatric thrombosis were not largely associated with respondent choices; however, institutional experience with pharmacologic thrombolysis exhibited the most notable association of the professional demographic factors analyzed. CONCLUSIONS: The survey results support that clinical practice pertaining to use of thrombolytic agents in pediatric VTE varies widely but also provide useful benchmarks to aid clinical decision-making and future clinical trial design. Such varied practices stem from the lack of strong evidence supporting one therapeutic approach versus another.
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