Intravenous literature: Akers, A.S. and Chelluri, L. (2009) Peripherally inserted central catheter use in the hospitalized patient: is there a roleÂ for the hospitalist? Journal of Hospital Medicine (Online). 4(6)(E1-4).
BACKGROUND: Peripherally-inserted central venous catheters (PICCs) are frequently used in hospitals for central intravenous access. These catheters may offer advantages over traditional central catheters with respect to ease of placement and decreased complication rates. However, hospital physicians have not traditionally been trained to place PICCs.
METHODS: We trained 3 of 5 hospitalists to place PICCs in our small university-affiliated community hospital as we converted from a house physician model to a hospitalist model for inpatient care. We then looked retrospectively at the rates of all PICC and other central catheter placements as well as the number of femoral and nonfemoral catheter days for the 18-month period prior to and after the inception of the hospitalist program.
RESULTS: Comparing the periods prior to and after the inception of the hospitalist program, the total number of central catheter placements doubled and the PICC rate rose from 20% to 80% of all central catheters. The rate of femoral and subclavian catheter placements decreased by approximately 50% and the rate of internal jugular catheter placement was roughly unchanged. There was also a fall in the number of femoral catheter days and a great increase in the number of total nonfemoral catheter days. The rate of catheter-related bacteremia remained low and did not appear to increase.
CONCLUSIONS: PICCs may be a safe and easy alternative to centrally placed catheters for the hospital physician attempting to secure central intravenous access and may lead to a decrease in the need for more risky central venous catheter (CVC) insertions.