Spontaneous correction of the malpositioned percutaneous central venous line in infants

Pediatr Radiol. 1998 Sep;28(9):694-6. doi: 10.1007/s002470050442.


Malpositioning of the percutaneously placed central venous line (PCVL) or percutaneously inserted central catheter (PICC) in infants is not a rare occurrence. It has been occasionally observed that these lines spontaneously correct themselves. This prospective study was done to study the incidence of malposition and spontaneous correction. Using a modification of the standard method, 187 catheters were placed with 98.9 % success. Seven of these were initially malpositioned. All seven corrected themselves within a day when left in and used as a peripheral intravenous line. In many centers malpositioned catheters are taken out and replaced, which imposes great stress on the critically ill infant. Our study suggests that to avoid this stress the catheter should be left in place, since spontaneous correction may occur.

MeSH terms

  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects*
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / methods
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography, Thoracic*
  • Thrombophlebitis / etiology