Peripherally inserted central catheters revisited

Am J Surg. 1998 Aug;176(2):208-11. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9610(98)00121-4.


Background: This study compares central venous catheters (CVC) and peripherally inserted central catheters (PICC) for indications for insertion, complications, and economic impact.

Methods: A retrospective review of 838 (283 CVC, 555 PICC) consecutively placed venous catheters reflected 49,365 CVC and 11,814 PICC days.

Results: There were 57 (20%) complications in the CVC group, 197 (35%) complications in the PICC group. PICC were associated with a statistically significant increase in the incidence of catheter malfunction (P = 0.0005), arm vein phlebitis (P = 0.0004), and overall complications (P = 0.00001). A higher complication rate was noted in PICC inserted for chemotherapy (P = 0.00001) and parenteral hyperalimentation administration (P = 0.04). Charges for inpatient insertion of PICC and CVC were $500 and $2,500, respectively.

Conclusions: PICC have a significantly higher complication rate than CVC. PICC provide cost-effective central access of 2 to 3 weeks' duration, reserving operatively placed CVC for longer access requirements.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / economics
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / methods*
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors