If a patient needs a central line, he/she needs one. Often low platelets or a deranged coagulation profile are cited as reasons for omitting or delaying the procedure, but this is not based on evidence of increased complications. A recent Best Evidence Topic Review concludes:
“…insertion of CVC lines do not require correction of haemostatic abnormalities prior to intervention. Rates of haemorrhage are low in patients with elevated PT, APTT or low thrombocyte count and appear to be closely related to the level of experience of the physician … rather than the defects of haemostasis. “
Links to the abstracts of a couple of relevant articles reviewed are included below.
Central line insertion in deranged clotting
Emerg Med J. 2011 Jun;28(6):536-7 Full text
Low levels of prothrombin time (INR) and platelets do not increase the risk of significant bleeding when placing central venous catheters.
Med Klin (Munich). 2009 May 15;104(5):331-5
US-guided placement of central vein catheters in patients with disorders of hemostasis
Eur J Radiol. 2008 Feb;65(2):253-6