Central venous catheter placement by advanced practice nurses demonstrates low procedural complication and infection rates--a report from 13 years of service*

Crit Care Med. 2014 Mar;42(3):536-43. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0b013e3182a667f0.


Objectives: To report procedural characteristics and outcomes from a central venous catheter placement service operated by advanced practice nurses.

Design: Single-center observational study.

Setting: A tertiary care university hospital in Sydney, Australia.

Patients: Adult patients from the general wards and from critical care areas receiving a central venous catheter, peripherally inserted central catheter, high-flow dialysis catheter, or midline catheter for parenteral therapy between November 1996 and December 2009.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and main results: Prevalence rates by indication, site, and catheter type were assessed. Nonparametric tests were used to calculate differences in outcomes for categorical data. Catheter infection rates were determined per 1,000 catheter days after derivation of the denominator. A total of 4,560 catheters were placed in 3,447 patients. The most common catheters inserted were single-lumen peripherally inserted central catheters (n = 1,653; 36.3%) and single-lumen central venous catheters (n = 1,233; 27.0%). A small proportion of high-flow dialysis catheters were also inserted over the reporting period (n = 150; 3.5%). Sixty-one percent of all catheters placed were for antibiotic administration. The median device dwell time (in d) differed across cannulation sites (p < 0.001). Subclavian catheter placement had the longest dwell time with a median of 16 days (interquartile range, 8-26 d). Overall catheter dwell was reported at a cumulative 63,071 catheter days. The overall catheter-related bloodstream infection rate was 0.2 per 1,000 catheter days. The prevalence rate of pneumothorax recorded was 0.4%, and accidental arterial puncture (simple puncture-with no dilation or cannulation) was 1.3% using the subclavian vein.

Conclusions: This report has demonstrated low complication rates for a hospital-wide service delivered by advance practice nurses. The results suggest that a centrally based service with specifically trained operators can be beneficial by potentially improving patient safety and promoting organizational efficiencies.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Advanced Practice Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Catheter-Related Infections / diagnosis
  • Catheter-Related Infections / epidemiology*
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / nursing*
  • Central Venous Catheters
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Clinical Competence
  • Critical Care / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse Clinicians / organization & administration
  • Program Evaluation
  • Quality Control
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Tertiary Care Centers
  • Time Factors