What are the complications associated with PICC lines?

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PICCs appear safe in the inpatient and outpatient settings with low rates of infectious or thrombotic complications” Grau et al (2017).

Abstract:

Background: Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters (PICCs) are widely used for hospitalized patients and among outpatients. Despite many advantages, PICC-related complications can occur such as infection, thrombosis or mechanical complications.

We aimed to evaluate rates and nature of PICC-related complications from insertion to removal and analyze risk factors of complications at baseline and during healthcare.

Methods: We performed a prospective cohort study looking at PICC-related complication rates in the inpatient and outpatient settings of 163 patients over a 7-month period. Pertinent patient demographics as well as catheter-related factors were collected. The data were analyzed to identify catheter-related complications using univariate and multivariate analysis.

Results: One hundred ninety-two PICCs were monitored for a total of 5218 PICC-days (3337 PICC-days for inpatients, 1881 PICC-days for outpatients). The overall complication rate was 30.2% (11.1 per 1000 PICC-days) with a mean time to onset of 16.1 days. Complications included occlusion (8.9%), accidental withdrawal (8.9%), infections (6.3%) including 9 local infections (4.7%) and 3 bloodstream infections (1.6%), venous thrombosis (1.6%) and hematoma (1%). Complication rate was higher in the hospitalization setting (36.1%; 14.38 per 1000 PICC-days) than in the outpatient setting (19.4%; 3.19 per 1000 PICC-days). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that the occurrence of occlusion was significantly associated with an age > 65 years (OR = 4.19; 95% CI [1.1–15.81]) and the presence of a pre-occlusive event the week before PICC removal (OR = 76.35; 95% CI [9.36–622.97]).

Conclusions: PICCs appear safe in the inpatient and outpatient settings with low rates of infectious or thrombotic complications. Occlusion and accidental withdrawal were the most common complications, with age > 65 and catheter pre-occlusive event associated with an increased likelihood of catheter occlusion.

Full Text

Reference:

Grau, D., Clarivet, B., Lotthé, A., Bommart, S. and Parer, S. (2017) Complications with peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) used in hospitalized patients and outpatients: a prospective cohort study. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. 6(18).

DOI: 10.1186/s13756-016-0161-0

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