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Safety and Outcomes of Midline Catheters vs Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters for Patients With Short-term Indications: A Multicenter Study.

JAMA Internal Medicine 2022 January 2
Importance: Peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) and midlines are frequently used for short-term venous access; whether one is safer than the other in this setting has not been adequately reported.

Objective: To compare outcomes between patients who had a PICC vs midline placed for the indication of difficult vascular access or antibiotic therapy for 30 or fewer days.

Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study analyzed data from a multihospital registry including patients admitted to a participating site from December 2017 through January 2020 who had a PICC or midline placement for the indications of difficult venous access or intravenous antibiotic therapy prescribed for 30 or fewer days. Data were analyzed from October 2020 to March 2021.

Exposures: PICC and midline placement.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Major complications, including a composite of symptomatic catheter-associated deep vein thrombosis (DVT), catheter-related bloodstream infection, and catheter occlusion. Logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards regression models (taking into account catheter dwell) were used to estimate risk for major complications, adjusting for patient and device characteristics and the clustered nature of the data. Sensitivity analyses limiting analyses to 10 days of device dwell were performed.

Results: Data on 10 863 patients, 5758 with PICCs and 5105 with midlines (median [IQR] age of device recipients, 64.8 [53.4-75.4] years; 5741 [52.8%] were female), were included. After adjusting for patient characteristics, comorbidities, catheter lumens, and dwell time in logit models, patients who received PICCs had a greater risk of developing a major complication compared with those who received midlines (odds ratio, 1.99; 95% CI, 1.61-2.47). Reduction in complications stemmed from lower rates of occlusion (2.1% vs 7.0%; P < .001) and bloodstream infection (0.4% vs 1.6%; P < .001) in midlines vs PICCs; no significant difference in the risk of DVT between PICCs and midlines was observed. In time-to-event models, similar outcomes for bloodstream infection and catheter occlusion were noted; however, the risk of DVT events was lower in patients who received PICCs vs midlines (hazard ratio, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.38-0.74). Results were robust to sensitivity analyses.

Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study among patients with placement of midline catheters vs PICCs for short-term indications, midlines were associated with a lower risk of bloodstream infection and occlusion compared with PICCs. Whether DVT risk is similar or greater with midlines compared with PICCs for short-term use is unclear. Randomized clinical trials comparing these devices for this indication are needed.

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