Two Serious Complications of Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters Indicating the Need to Formalize Training for Placing Central Venous Vascular Access Devices

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Peripherally inserted central catheters are being used in increasing numbers. Common (thrombosis, infection, phlebitis, malfunction, or disconnection) and rare complications (pericardial tamponade) have been well explored. We describe 2 serious complications that resolved without sequelae. Both complications occurred in the context of limited provider competence. We conclude that vascular access is more than “just” placing a catheter; it can have serious clinical impact and has evolved into a specialist skill. With increasing use of intravascular catheters, the need for a formalized training becomes urgent.

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