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Arch Intern Med. 1994 Aug 22;154(16):1833-7.

Peripherally inserted central catheters in an acute-care hospital.

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Department of Medicine, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New Hyde Park, NY.



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.


A retrospective review was undertaken of all hospitalized patients who had PICCs inserted in an acute-care, 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.


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.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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