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August 22, 1994

Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters in an Acute-Care Hospital

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine (Drs Lam and Smith), and the Department of Nursing (Mss Scannell and Roessler), Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New Hyde Park, NY.

Arch Intern Med. 1994;154(16):1833-1837. doi:10.1001/archinte.1994.00420160070009

Background:  Peripherally inserted central catheterization is a relatively new approach for intravenous therapy in acute-care hospitals. Few studies are available on peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) used in adult patients in an acute-care setting. We examine the natural history and outcome of PICC use in our hospital.

Methods:  A retrospective review was undertaken of all hospitalized patients who had PICCs inserted in an acutecare, metropolitan teaching hospital for any reason from July 1991 through July 1992. Patients who had PICCs inserted, used, and then removed in the same hospitalization were evaluated.

Results:  A total of 135 PICCs were inserted in 114 patients. Six PICCs (4.4%) were inserted in intensive care unit settings and 129 (95.6%) in general medical or surgical service. The mean duration catheters were in place before removal was 14.1 days. Sixty-three catheters (46.7%) were removed following completion of therapy. The rate of PICC-related infection was 2.2% (three catheters). The occlusion rate was higher for 20-gauge catheters (18.4%) than for 18-gauge catheters (8.2%) (P=.08). When the rate of complications was compared as a function of catheter use (total parenteral nutrition vs any other use), there was no statistically significant difference (P=.12). Overall complications related to catheter insertion and removal were uncommon.

Conclusions:  Based on our study, we conclude that the PICC provides a reasonable and safe alternative to other centrally placed venous devices. In addition, the convenience of maintaining a PICC compared with peripheral intravenous access makes this an attractive method for in-hospital use.(Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:1833-1837)