Incidence and risk factors of superficial and deep vein thrombosis associated with peripherally inserted central catheters in children

J Thromb Haemost. 2016 Nov;14(11):2158-2168. doi: 10.1111/jth.13478. Epub 2016 Oct 12.


Essentials Pediatric studies on peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC)-related thrombosis are scarce. This study analyzes incidence and risk factors for PICC-related venous thrombosis in children. PICC-related thrombosis is a common, and nearly always, asymptomatic complication. Echo-guided insertion and a catheter to vein ratio < 0.33 may notably decrease this complication.

Summary: Background Upper-extremity venous thrombosis is associated with the use of peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs). Few pediatric studies have focused on this issue. Objectives To determine the incidence and risk factors for PICC-related superficial vein thrombosis (SVT) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in children. Patients/methods An observational follow-up cohort study was conducted at a single hospital between June 2012 and June 2015. All patients receiving a PICC were enrolled and followed up, with weekly Doppler ultrasound examination of the catheterized limb until PICC removal. Patient, procedural and follow-up data were analyzed. Results In the study period, 265 PICCs were inserted (median age of patients 6.5 years, interquartile range [IQR] 2.4-13 years; median weight 20 kg, IQR 11-38 kg; 54% males; 67.9% chronically ill), and patients were followed up for a total of 9743 days. The median indwelling time was 21 days (IQR 12-37 days). During follow-up, 88 (33.2% of insertions) PICC-related thromboses (incidence rate [IR] 9.03 per 1000 catheter-days) were diagnosed, 66 (24.9%) as isolated SVT, seven (2.6%) as isolated DVT, and 15 (5.7%) as SVT with associated DVT (IR 6.78, 0.71 and 1.54 per 1000 catheter-days, respectively). Only 9.9% of patients with SVT and 18.2% of those with DVT were symptomatic. The main risk factors for PICC-related SVT and DVT were a catheter/vein ratio of > 0.33 and thrombosis of the catheterized superficial vein, respectively. Conclusions PICC-related thrombosis is a common and nearly always asymptomatic complication in children, the SVT rate being approximately three times higher than the DVT rate. Optimal vein and catheter selection, yielding the lowest possible catheter/vein ratio, may decrease the rate of PICC-related thrombosis.

Keywords: central venous catheters; child; pediatrics; upper-extremity deep vein thrombosis; venous thrombosis.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects*
  • Catheterization, Peripheral / adverse effects*
  • Catheters, Indwelling / adverse effects
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler
  • Upper Extremity Deep Vein Thrombosis / epidemiology*
  • Upper Extremity Deep Vein Thrombosis / etiology
  • Venous Thrombosis / epidemiology*
  • Venous Thrombosis / etiology