Central venous catheters (CVCs) are a source of morbidity for children with intestinal failure (IF). Complications include infection, breakage, occlusion, and venous thrombosis. Broviacs® have traditionally been preferred, but peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) are gaining popularity. This study compares complications between Broviacs® and PICCs in children with IF.
After IRB approval, children with IF receiving parenteral nutrition (2012–2016) were reviewed. Complications were compared between Broviacs® and PICCs using the generalized estimation equation population-averaged Poisson regression model. P values <0.05 were considered significant.
36 children (0.1–16 years) with IF were reviewed, accounting for 27,331 catheter days, 108 Broviacs® (3F–9F), and 54 PICCs (2-11F). Broviacs® had a significantly higher infection rate (4.2 vs. 2.6/1000 catheter days, p = 0.011), but PICCs were more likely to break (1.56 vs. 0.26/1000 catheter days, p = 0.002). When comparing same size catheters (3F), there were no significant differences in infection, breakage, or occlusion. Twelve children (33%) had central venous thrombosis, all after Broviac® placement. Three children (8%) had basilic vein thrombosis after PICC placement.
Although Broviacs® and PICCs had similar complication rates, there were fewer central venous thromboses associated with PICCs. This should be considered when choosing catheters for children with IF.
My take: Despite some possible advantages of PICC in this study, a prospective randomized study is needed if one is to make a compelling argument regarding better outcomes. Given the retrospective nature of this study, it could be that the sicker patients may have been more likely to receive a Broviac® and this could have skewed the results.