Many patients admitted to hospital require venous access to infuse medications and fluids. The most commonly used device, the peripheral venous catheter, ranges from 2.5 to 4.5 cm in length, and is typically used for less than 5 days. The midline, a relatively newer peripheral venous catheter, is up to 20 cm in length, but does not reach the central veins, and may be used for up to 2 weeks. A peripherally inserted central venous catheter (PICC) is a longer catheter that is placed in one of the arm veins and extends to reach the central veins. The PICC is used for longer periods of time compared with peripheral intravenous devices, and initially gained popularity as a convenient vascular access device used in the outpatient and home settings. Its premise has been to provide access that lasts for weeks, that is fairly safe and easily manageable. Patients often require central venous access when hospitalised, with more than half of patients in intensive care, and up to 20% in those cared for in the non-intensive care wards.Reference:
Fakih M, Sturm L. Paving the PICC journey: building structures, process and engagement to improve outcomes. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021 Feb 11:bmjqs-2020-012910. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2020-012910. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33574082.