Report of Modification for Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter Placement: Subcutaneous Needle Tunnel for High Upper Arm Placement
The majority of peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) are currently inserted with the aid of ultrasound guidance in the middle third of the upper arm. A growing patient population is presenting with challenging vessel access requiring placement of the PICC in the high upper third of the arm. To avoid this suboptimal exit site, a subcutaneous tunneling of the PICC is established away from the axilla to a more appropriate skin exit site. A prospective evaluation was performed in a single facility for all PICC placements from September 2014 to June 2015. Of the results of 685 PICC requests received during the study, 50 (7.2%) were placed with the modified Seldinger tunneling technique with 96% success. There were no reports of increased pain, insertion complications, or therapy failures. Subcutaneous tunneling, when applied to bedside PICC insertions, provides a safe, effective, and cost-efficient option for a select, more challenging patient population.