Risk factors for upper extremity venous thrombosis associated with peripherally inserted central venous catheters


Purpose: To identify clinically important risk factors associated with upper extremity venous thrombosis following peripherally inserted central venous catheters (PICC). Methods: A retrospective case control study of 400 consecutive patients with and without upper extremity venous thrombosis post-PICC insertion was performed. Patient data included demographics, body mass index (BMI), ethnicity, site of insertion, size and lumen of catheter, internal length, infusate, and co-morbidities, such as diabetes mellitus, congestive heart failure, and renal failure. Additional risk factors analyzed were active cancer, any history of cancer, recent trauma, smoking, a history of prior deep vein thrombosis, and recent surgery, defined as surgery within three months prior to PICC insertion. Results: The prevalence of trauma, renal failure, and infusion with antibiotics and total parenteral nutrition (TPN) was higher among patients exhibiting upper extremity venous thrombosis (UEVT), when compared to controls. Patients developing UEVT were also more likely to have PICC line placement in a basilic vein and less likely to have brachial vein placement (P>.001). Left-sided PICC line sites also posed a greater risk (P=.026). The rate of standard DVT prophylaxis with low molecular weight heparin and unfractionated heparin and the use of warfarin was similar in both groups. Average length of hospital stay was almost double among patients developing UEVT, 19.5 days, when compared to patients undergoing PICC line insertion without thrombosis, 10.8 days (t=6.98, P>.001). Conclusions: In multivariate analysis, trauma, renal failure, left-sided catheters, basilic placement, TPN, and infusion with antibiotics, specifically vancomycin, were significant risk factors for UEVT associated with PICC insertion. Prophylaxis with low molecular weight heparin, unfractionated heparin or use of warfarin did not prevent the development of venous thrombosis in patients with PICCs. Length of hospital stay and cost are markedly increased in patients who develop PICC-associated upper extremity venous thrombosis.

J Vasc Access 2012; 13(2): 231 - 238




Thomas Marnejon, Debra Angelo, Ahmed Abu Abdou, David Gemmel

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  • Marnejon, Thomas [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Department of Internal Medicine, St. Elizabeth Health Center, Youngstown, OH - USA and Department of Medicine, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Pharmacy, Rootstown, OH - USA
  • Angelo, Debra [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Department of Internal Medicine, St. Elizabeth Health Center, Youngstown, OH - USA
  • Abu Abdou, Ahmed [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Department of Internal Medicine, St. Elizabeth Health Center, Youngstown, OH - USA
  • Gemmel, David [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Department of Medical Education and Research, St. Elizabeth Health Center, Youngstown, OH - USA

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