A randomized trial comparing peripherally inserted central venous catheters and peripheral intravenous catheters in infants with very low birth weight
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BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: To determine whether percutaneously inserted central venous catheters (PICC) and peripheral intravenous catheters (PIV) in infants with very low birth weight (VLBW) differ with respect to (1) incidence of sepsis, (2) number of insertion attempts and catheters required for total intravenous therapy, (3) courses of antibiotics, and (4) total duration of intravenous (IV) use. METHODS: A randomized comparative trial was conducted involving 63 VLBW infants (<1,251 g) who required IV therapy. Infants were assigned randomly at 1 week of age to either a PIV or a PICC catheter and followed up prospectively until an IV was no longer required or the infant was transferred out of the neonatal intensive care unit. RESULTS: Data were analyzed on an intention-to-treat basis. There was no difference in the incidence of sepsis (P = .64), number of courses of antibiotics (P = .16), or total duration of IV use (P= .34) between the 2 groups. The number of insertion attempts required for total IV therapy was significantly lower in the PICC group than in the PIV group (P = .008). There also was a significantly lower number of total catheters utilized in the PICC group (P = .002). When data were controlled for birth weight strata the results were similar. CONCLUSION: PICC lines reduced the number of painful IV procedures in VLBW infants without additional morbidity.