Previous studies undertaken to identify risk factors for peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC)-associated DVT have yielded conflicting results. PICC insertion teams and other health-care providers need to understand the risk factors so that they can develop methods to prevent DVT.
A 1-year prospective observational study of PICC insertions was conducted at a 456-bed, level I trauma center and tertiary referral hospital affiliated with a medical school. All patients with one or more PICC insertions were included to identify the incidence and risk factors for symptomatic DVT associated with catheters inserted by a facility-certified PICC team using a consistent and replicated approach for vein selection and insertion.
A total of 2,014 PICCs were inserted during 1,879 distinct hospitalizations in 1,728 distinct patients for a total of 15,115 days of PICC placement. Most PICCs were placed in the right arm (76.9%) and basilic vein (74%) and were double-lumen 5F (75.3%). Of the 2,014 PICC insertions, 60 (3.0%) in 57 distinct patients developed DVT in the cannulated or adjacent veins. The best-performing predictive model for DVT (area under the curve, 0.83) was prior DVT (odds ratio [OR], 9.92; P < .001), use of double-lumen 5F (OR, 7.54; P < .05) or triple-lumen 6F (OR, 19.50; P < .01) PICCs, and prior surgery duration of > 1 h (OR, 1.66; P = .10).
Prior DVT and surgery lasting > 1 h identify patients at increased risk for PICC-associated DVT. More importantly, increasing catheter size also is significantly associated with increased risk. Rates of PICC-associated DVT may be reduced by improved selection of patients and catheter size.