Peripherally inserted central catheters (PICC) are useful access devices that allow for longer-term intravenous access. This allows patients requiring an extended period of intravenous medication to have this administered without the need for repeat vascular punctures. Even minimally invasive procedures such as line insertion come with risks. Of particular interest to this article is a limb threatening complication soon after line placement. We discuss the PICC line catheter tip as the likely cause for arrhythmia that lead to an embolic occlusion of an upper limb and required acute surgical intervention for limb salvage. We stress the rapid sequence of events that lead to this ultimate complication. We also stress the importance for all clinicians to be aware of these risks and take a cautious approach as the majority of patients requiring longer-term access are already at greater risks of thromboembolic disease due to their comorbidities.Reference:
Hamdulay KA, van den Bosch R. Acute ischaemia of the upper limb following peripherally inserted central catheter-a venous to arterial complication cascade. J Surg Case Rep. 2021 Jul 9;2021(7):rjab188. doi: 10.1093/jscr/rjab188. PMID: 34257900; PMCID: PMC8272394.