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"PICC use reduced the incidence of phlebitis when compared to patients with peripheral venous access" Silva et al (2021).

PICC reduces phlebitis rates


Background: During decompensated heart failure, the use of intravenous inotropes can be necessary. With peripheral venous access, prolonged inotrope infusion can cause phlebitis. However, traditional central venous catheters have possible complications. Peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) may be an alternative to traditional catheters.

Aim: Our objective was to compare the incidence of phlebitis between patients with PICC and those with peripheral venous access catheter indwelling.

Methods: In a randomized clinical trial, the patients were randomized to PICC and control groups, with 40 patients in each group. The inclusion criteria were hospitalized patients with advanced heart failure, ejection fraction of <0.45, and platelet count of >50,000/mm3 and current use of continuous intravenous infusion of dobutamine. The patients were randomly assigned to receive a PICC or keep their peripheral venous access. The primary end point was the occurrence of phlebitis.

Results: The PICC and control groups included 40 patients each. The median age was 61.5 years; ejection fraction, 0.24; and dobutamine dose, 7.73 µg/(kg min). Phlebitis occurred in 1 patient (2.5%) in the PICC group and in 38 patients (95.0%) in the control group, with an odds ratio of 0.10% (95% confidence interval: 0.01%-1.60%, p < 0.001).

Conclusion: In conclusion, in severe heart failure patients who received intravenous dobutamine, PICC use reduced the incidence of phlebitis when compared to patients with peripheral venous access. Therefore, the PICC use should considered over peripheral venous access for prolonged intravenous therapy in heart failure patients.


Silva EVC, Ochiai ME, Vieira KRN, Pereira Barretto AC. The use of peripherally inserted central catheter reduced the incidence of phlebitis in heart failure patients: A randomized trial. J Vasc Access. 2021 Nov 23:11297298211059650. doi: 10.1177/11297298211059650. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34812074.