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Infectious Complications of Peripherally Inserted Central Venous Catheters in Children

Levy, Itzhak MD*; Bendet, Moshe MD*; Samra, Zmira PhD; Shalit, Itamar MD*; Katz, Jacob MD

The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal: May 2010 - Volume 29 - Issue 5 - p 426-429
doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e3181c94d9e
Original Studies

Background: Peripherally inserted central venous catheters (PICCs) are frequently used in infants and children. However, only limited data are available on current infectious and noninfectious complications of PICCs in this patient population. The aim of the study is to define the current rate of infectious and noninfectious complications of PICCs, the causative agents, and to define possible risk factors associated with these complications.

Methods: A prospective surveillance study was conducted at the Schneider Children Medical Center of Israel. All patients in whom a PICC was inserted between August 2004 and October 2006 were included. Demographic, clinical, and microbiologic data were collected by a questionnaire completed by the anesthesiologist at the time of insertion and removal of each catheter. Items covered epidemiologic, clinical, and microbiologic data.

Results: A total of 279 PICCs were inserted in 221 patients. There were no complications at insertion. Mean dwell time was 30 days. One hundred seventy-seven (63%) of all PICC placements were free of complications. Twenty-six catheters (9.3%) were dislodged accidentally; 38 (13.6%) were removed for mechanical problems: tears in 5, leaks in 12, and obstructions in 21; 38 (13.6%) were removed for an infectious complication: phlebitis in 13 (4.6%, 1.5/1000 PICC days), exit-site infection in 10 (3.5%, 1.1/1000 PICC days), PICC-associated bloodstream infection in 12 (4.3%, 1.4/1000 PICC days), and PICC-related bloodstream infection in 4 (1.4%, 0.4/1000 PICC days); 15 more were removed for presumed infection (5.3%, 1.7/1000 PICC days). On multivariate analysis, composite indication for PICC use and older patient age were significantly associated with infectious complications.

Conclusions: PICCs are safe and may be used for prolonged periods. In our center, the rates of infectious complications are lower than for tunneled central venous catheters. Accidental dislodgement is not uncommon and may be prevented by use of sutures, occlusive dressing, and education of patients, families, and medical staff.


From the *Infectious Diseases Unit, Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, Petah Tikva, Israel; †Microbiology Laboratory, Rabin Medical Center, Petah Tikva, Israel; and ‡Department of Anesthesiology, Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, Petah Tikva, Israel.

Accepted for publication November 4, 2009.

Address for correspondence: Itzhak Levy, MD, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Unit, Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, 14 Kaplan Street, Petah Tikva, 49202, Israel. E-mail:

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© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.