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hickman line query

hi all,

Has anyone else had problems with hickman lines and blood clots?

SInce having the line in I have had clots around the line and then one broke off and turned into a PE. I am currently on fragmin to try and stop this but have just been diagnosed with another clot in my arm.

Now i have had clots before when i have had lines in live CVP lines or femeral lines but i was told that was because of infection. My hickman line is not infected

My consultant thinks that i may be allergic to the coating of the lines and thats why clots form around them. Has anyone else heard of this?

Also he has suggested maybe having a fistula made ( what is usually used for people on dialysis). It involvesconnecting your artery from your wrist to a vein near it and it makes that vein pump up. Has anyone else had any experience of this?

Any comments gratefully recieved!!!


4 Replies

Hello Ribena,

I am also Brittle Asthmatic on s/c ventolin etc but fortunately not had a Hickman line. But, I have had friends who have with varying successes & not successes etc.

Perhaps your body is attacking the coating ( should be a type of non-stick stuff eg a bit like Teflon) and then this causes the clots as the blood sticks to the line?

Have you ever had a portacath or a permacath before? They are similar to Hickmans but totally enclosed until you need to access them via a gripper needle through the skin to the port.

I have heard the fistula method being suggested somewhere though.

Cant be more help on this subject ....

Do you use the hickman all the time for infusions or just for emergencies as veins too knackered for venflons??

Take care



I use the hickman line for both reasons. In an emergency the doc's could often get zero access and durinig a resus they had to drill into a bone (cant remember what its called) becuase they couldnt get access even after a cut down.

I have heard about a portacath/permacath but it was decided these were not good options for me because i have a pacemaker. Although i dont know the reasons behind that decision. I should question more!!!

I also use my line for IV's at home as was spending rediculous amounts of time in hospital, where now i can have IV amino, hydro etc which is great!!!

Thanks for taking the time to reply, am going to look into what the coating of the lines are made from


Hi Ribena,

gosh you have had a bad time, i too have had portacath and several hickman lines, unfortunately my lines frequently got blocked and infected so had to be removed as i became so ill, i did have problems with clots and unfortunately one ended up in my heart. i was very lucky and have had no lasting damage. i did try going on warfarin whilst lines were in and that prooved succesful from a clot side but it was very hard to keep the levels stable as frequent hospital admits sent the levels all over the place.

might be something to discuss with cons as an option.

i personally dont like the idea of a fistular, it can be risky as it involves the artey, you would have to be very carefull what you did activity wise. if you do go for it i can recomend a good renal surgean, Dr Koffman. he is at GUYs in London.

Good Luck, hope all stays well.

George x



I had a hickman line last year but had alot of problems with it. I caught MRSA which entered my bloodstream via my hickman line and I then developed septicemia. I have been to scared to have another permanant line in since as I was so ill with it and still carry MRSA on skin and in my lungs. I didn't really have any problems with clots until my line got infected, what do they use to flush the line? That might have something to do with it?

tks xxxxxxxxxx


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