Influence of arm movement on central tip location of peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs)

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Abstract

Background

PICCs are increasingly employed in children. Some of their risks relate to the location of the central tip. Despite care when placing lines, they sometimes move.

Objective

To evaluate the influence of arm movement on the central tip location of PICCs placed in children.

Materials and methods

The central tip location of PICCs was studied in 85 children, with the arm placed in six positions. The variables of side, vein, site and arm position were examined to measure the direction and range of tip movement.

Results

The side, site or vein used did not influence the range of movement of the central tip. Change in position of the arm had a significant influence on the central tip location, moving it an average of 2.2 rib spaces, a maximum of 3.5 ribs. Elbow bending and adduction of the arm caused the central tip to move deeper into the chest, compared to when the arm was straight and abducted 90°.

Conclusion

Arm position is the significant variable influencing PICC movement. Side, site and vein do not influence the range of movement significantly. Most PICCs descend deeper into the chest with arm adduction and elbow bending.

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