Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate the type and incidence of complications during insertion, maintenance, and withdrawal of central arterial catheters used for transpulmonary thermodilution haemodynamic monitoring (PiCCO™).
Methods: We conducted a prospective, observational, multicentre study in 14 European intensive care units (six countries). A total of 514 consecutive patients in whom haemodynamic monitoring by PiCCO™ was indicated were studied.
Results: Five hundred and fourteen PiCCO catheters (475 in femoral, 26 in radial, nine in axillary, and four in brachial arteries) were inserted. Arterial access was obtained on the first attempt in 86.4% of the patients. Minor problems such as oozing after insertion (3.3%) or removal of the catheter (3.5%) were observed, but no episodes of serious bleeding (more than 50 ml) were recorded. Small local haematomas were observed after insertion (4.5%) and after removal (1.2%) of the catheter. These complications were not more frequent in patients with coagulation abnormalities. The incidence of site inflammation and catheter-related infection was 2% and 0.78%, respectively. Other complications such as ischaemia (0.4%), pulse loss (0.4%), or femoral artery thrombosis (0.2%) were rare, transient, and all resolved with catheter removal or embolectomy, respectively.
Conclusions: In this series of patients, central arterial catheters used for PiCCO™ monitoring were demonstrated to be a safe alternative for advanced haemodynamic monitoring.