Original Research Article| Volume 223, ISSUE 5, P983-987, May 2022

PICC versus midlines: Comparison of peripherally inserted central catheters and midline catheters with respect to incidence of thromboembolic and infectious complications

Published:September 25, 2021DOI:


      • A comparative study PICC and midline catheters.
      • Midlines are increasingly used in place of PICC lines at many institutions.
      • Increased use of midline catheters does not decrease risk of complications.



      To decrease the complications related to central catheters there has been an increasing utilization of peripherally inserted central catheters (PICC) and ultrasound-guided long peripheral intravenous catheters (i.e. midlines). While the complications of PICC lines are well described there is less reported data on complications related to midline catheters. Our study aims are to compare the incidences of infectious and deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and sepsis related to PICCs and Midlines.


      We performed a single-center retrospective review at an academic hospital. Data were collected on patients admitted between 1/1/2014–5/31/2016. Patient demographics, hospital length of stay (LOS), and ventilator days were collected. Outcomes of interest were line-related infections and thromboembolic events after the placement of these catheters. Endpoints were compared between three groups (PICC group, midline group and PICC placement followed by midline placement group). Univariate and multivariable analyses were used to compare across the three groups.


      The study included 3560 unique patients with 5058 catheters. There was an increase in use of midlines over the observed study period (245% increase from the end of 2015 to the middle of 2016). We found no significant differences in the rates of DVT among the three groups (PICC 4%, midline 3% and PICC-midline 4%; p = 0.12). There were no differences across the groups for sepsis (PICC 29%, midline 27%, and PICC-midline 32%; p = 0.14) or septic shock (PICC 7%, midline 8%, and PICC-midline 6%; p = 0.39). Adjusted means LOS were higher for patients with PICC lines compared to midlines, in both females and males. PICC group stayed longer, on average, on the ventilator compared to the midline group. No other significant differences were seen among groups.


      Increased utilization of midline catheters were not associated with decreased risk of DVT or sepsis when compared to peripherally inserted central catheters.



      PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter)
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