Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters: Guidance with Use of US versus Venography in 2,650 Patients1

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To compare technical success and initial complication rates of peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) by interventional radiologists using ultrasound (US) or venographic guidance.


With use of a computer database, the authors retrospectively reviewed 2,650 procedures, 2,126 of which were performed with US and 524 with venography. Technical success was defined as placement of a PICC. Initial complications were defined as development of a hematoma, inadvertent arterial puncture, or neuropathy. Statistical significance was assessed using the χ2 test.


During 33 consecutive months, 2,650 procedures were performed with a complication rate of 1.0%. The technical success rate was 95.8% for venography and 99.6% for US. The initial complication rate was 0.75% for venography and 1.08% for US. There was no statistically significant difference in immediate complication rates (P = .50); however, there is statistical significance in regard to technical success (P < .001).


There is no difference in initial complication rates when comparing US and venographic guidance for PICC insertion. The decision to use either method can be based on clinical grounds and/or physician preference, although US has a higher initial success rate.

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