Abstract

Background: Peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) are increasingly inserted by trained registered nurses, necessitating the development of specialized skills such as the use of ultrasound. The selection of an adequately sized vein is an important factor in reducing adverse events such as deep vein thrombosis. However, PICC nurses may receive minimal training in the use of ultrasound for vein measurement.

Objective: We aimed to demonstrate the reliability of a vein measurement protocol using ultrasound by a PICC nurse trained in sonography.

Methods: The diameter of the basilic, brachial, and cephalic veins in the left arms of healthy participants (n =12) were measured using ultrasound by a PICC nurse and a sonographer. A PICC nurse performed the measurement twice and the sonographer once; the PICC nurse's results were compared for intra-rater reliability and compared with the sonographer for inter-rater reliability. The results were analyzed using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs).

Results: Inter-rater reliability between the PICC nurse and the sonographer was adequate, the ICC for the brachial vein was 0.60 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.06–0.87), basilic vein ICC was 0.87 (95% CI, 0.58–0.96) and cephalic vein ICC was 0.77 (95% CI, 0.39–0.93). Intra-rater reliability of the PICC nurse was higher; the ICC for the brachial vein was 0.80 (95% CI, 0.44–0.94), basilic vein ICC was 0.92 (95% CI, 0.67–0.98), and cephalic vein ICC was 0.78 (95% CI, 0.40–0.93).

Conclusions: Using a suitable protocol, a PICC nurse was able to measure vein diameter reliably when compared with a sonographer and consistently replicate these results.

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