Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of clinical practice changes in an effort to reduce peripherally inserted central catheter thrombosis risk.
Patients and Method: A retrospective analysis of adult patients in the acute care setting.
Results: A total number of 1307 charts of patients who received PICCs were reviewed encompassing the months of January 2008, October 2008 and August 2010. During the period from January 2008 to October 2008, clinical practice changes were made to include the use of ultrasound guidance. Ensuring catheter tip termination in the superior vena cava with the addition of ultrasound technology as an insertion practice combined to decrease symptomatic PICC related deep vein thrombosis rates from 4.8 % to 2.9%. During the period from October 2008 to August 2010, an additional practice was introduced that involved measurement and documentation of vein diameters(without the use of a tourniquet) prior to all PICC insertion procedures. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) rates dropped further from 2.9 % to 1.4 % during this period.
Conclusion: Obtaining central tip location and using ultrasound guidance for PICC placement are effective in reducing PICC related DVT. Additionally, routine measurement of vein diameters in their native state and use of that information to ensure that the vessel diameter is at least twice the outer diameter of the catheter is an effective practice to reduce DVT rates and reduce thrombosis risk.