Rigorous study finds widely used treatment for infection fails young cancer patients
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IMAGE: From left to right: Kristen Branum, Patricia Flynn, Dr. Joshua Wolf and Kim Allison. view more 

Credit: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

(MEMPHIS, Tenn. – JUNE 5, 2018) A treatment designed to reduce bloodstream infections due to central venous catheters that had worked well in lab studies and is commonly used around the world, but had not been rigorously tested, failed to protect young cancer patients from recurring or new infections and left them at higher risk for complications. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital investigators led the study, which appears online today in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

The study focused on the effectiveness of ethanol-lock therapy for treatment and prevention of bloodstream infections and related complications in pediatric cancer patients with central venous catheters, known as central lines.

Central lines are surgically implanted and connected to the bloodstream, making it easier to draw blood and deliver chemotherapy, fluids and other treatments without repeated needle sticks. But about 25 percent of pediatric cancer patients develop central line-associated bloodstream infections that disrupt cancer treatment and sometimes result in hospitalization, long-term complications or death. Despite antibiotic therapy, one-third of patients develop persistent or multiple infections and even more patients

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