Risk of symptomatic DVT associated with peripherally inserted central catheters

Chest. 2010 Oct;138(4):803-10. doi: 10.1378/chest.10-0154.


Background: Previous studies undertaken to identify risk factors for peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC)-associated DVT have yielded conflicting results. PICC insertion teams and other health-care providers need to understand the risk factors so that they can develop methods to prevent DVT.

Methods: A 1-year prospective observational study of PICC insertions was conducted at a 456-bed, level I trauma center and tertiary referral hospital affiliated with a medical school. All patients with one or more PICC insertions were included to identify the incidence and risk factors for symptomatic DVT associated with catheters inserted by a facility-certified PICC team using a consistent and replicated approach for vein selection and insertion.

Results: A total of 2,014 PICCs were inserted during 1,879 distinct hospitalizations in 1,728 distinct patients for a total of 15,115 days of PICC placement. Most PICCs were placed in the right arm (76.9%) and basilic vein (74%) and were double-lumen 5F (75.3%). Of the 2,014 PICC insertions, 60 (3.0%) in 57 distinct patients developed DVT in the cannulated or adjacent veins. The best-performing predictive model for DVT (area under the curve, 0.83) was prior DVT (odds ratio [OR], 9.92; P < .001), use of double-lumen 5F (OR, 7.54; P < .05) or triple-lumen 6F (OR, 19.50; P < .01) PICCs, and prior surgery duration of > 1 h (OR, 1.66; P = .10).

Conclusions: Prior DVT and surgery lasting > 1 h identify patients at increased risk for PICC-associated DVT. More importantly, increasing catheter size also is significantly associated with increased risk. Rates of PICC-associated DVT may be reduced by improved selection of patients and catheter size.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Area Under Curve
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects*
  • Catheterization, Peripheral / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional
  • Utah / epidemiology
  • Venous Thrombosis / epidemiology
  • Venous Thrombosis / etiology*