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"Ultrasonography is a sensitive, specific and timely imaging modality for confirming PICC tip position" Doyle et al (2022).
Ultrasound assisted infant PICC tip position


Background: Chest radiography after peripherally inserted central catheter insertion in infants is the reference standard method for verifying catheter tip position. The utilisation of ultrasound (US) for catheter placement confirmation in the neonatal and paediatric population has been the focus of many recent studies.

Objective: In this systematic review we investigated the diagnostic accuracy of US for peripherally inserted central catheter tip confirmation in infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a systematic literature search of multiple databases. The study selection yielded eight articles, all of which had acceptable quality and homogeneity for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Sensitivity and specificity values were reported together with their respective 95% confidence intervals (CI).

Results: After synthesising the eligible studies, we found that US had a sensitivity of 95.2% (95% CI 91.9-97.4%) and specificity of 71.4% (95% CI 59.4-81.6%) for confirming catheter tip position.

Conclusion: Analyses indicated that US is an excellent imaging test for localising catheter tip position in the NICU when compared to radiography. Ultrasonography is a sensitive, specific and timely imaging modality for confirming PICC tip position. In cases where US is unable to locate malpositioned PICC tips, a chest or combined chest-abdominal radiograph should be performed.


Doyle SC, Bergin NM, Young R, England A, McEntee MF. Diagnostic accuracy of ultrasound for localising peripherally inserted central catheter tips in infants in the neonatal intensive care unit: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Pediatr Radiol. 2022 May 5. doi: 10.1007/s00247-022-05379-7. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35511256.