Peripherally inserted central catheter usage patterns and associated symptomatic upper extremity venous thrombosis

Timothy K. Liem, Keenan E. Yanit, Shannon E. Moseley, Gregory J. Landry, Thomas G. Deloughery, Claudia A. Rumwell, Erica Mitchell, Gregory L. Moneta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Objectives: Peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) may be complicated by upper extremity (UE) superficial (SVT) or deep venous thrombosis (DVT). The purpose of this study was to determine current PICC insertion patterns and if any PICC or patient characteristics were associated with venous thrombotic complications. Methods: All UE venous duplex scans during a 12-month period were reviewed, selecting patients with isolated SVT or DVT and PICCs placed ≤30 days. All UE PICC procedures during the same period were identified from an electronic medical record query. PICC-associated DVTs, categorized by insertion site, were compared with all first-time UE PICCs to determine the rate of UE DVT and isolated UE SVT. Technical and clinical variables in patients with PICC-associated UE DVT also were compared with 172 patients who received a PICC without developing DVT (univariable and multivariable analysis). Results: We identified 219 isolated UE SVTs and 154 UE DVTs, with 2056 first-time UE PICCs placed during the same period. A PICC was associated with 44 of 219 (20%) isolated UE SVTs and 54 of 154 UE DVTs (35%). The rates of PICC-associated symptomatic UE SVT were 1.9% for basilic, 7.2% for cephalic, and 0% for brachial vein PICCs. The rates of PICC-associated symptomatic UE DVT were 3.1% for basilic, 2.2% for brachial, and 0% for cephalic vein PICCs (χ 2 P <.001). Univariate analysis of technical and patient variables demonstrated that larger PICC diameter, noncephalic insertion, smoking, concurrent malignancy, diabetes, and older age were associated with UE DVT (P <.05). Multivariable analysis showed larger catheter diameter and malignancy were the only variables associated with UE DVT (P <.05). Conclusions: The incidence of symptomatic PICC-associated UE DVT is low, but given the number of PICCs placed each year, they account for up to 35% of all diagnosed UE DVTs. Larger-diameter PICCs and malignancy increase the risk for DVT, and further studies are needed to evaluate the optimal vein of first choice for PICC insertion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)761-767
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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