Patients in neurological critical care units often have lengthy stays that require extended vascular access and invasive hemodynamic monitoring. The traditional approach for these patients has relied heavily on central venous and pulmonary artery catheters. The aim of this study was to evaluate peripherally inserted central catheters as an alternative to central venous catheters in neurocritical care settings.
Data on 35 patients who had peripherally inserted central catheters rather than central venous or pulmonary artery catheters for intravascular access and monitoring were collected from a prospective registry of neurological critical care admissions. These data were cross-referenced with information from hospital-based data registries for peripherally inserted central catheters and subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Complete data were available on 33 patients with Hunt-Hess grade IV–V aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. Catheters remained in place a total of 649 days (mean, 19 days; range, 4–64 days). One patient (3%) had deep vein thrombosis in an upper extremity. In 2 patients, central venous pressure measured with a peripherally inserted catheter was higher than pressure measured concurrently with a central venous catheter. None of the 33 patients had a central catheter bloodstream infection or persistent insertion-related complications.
Use of peripherally inserted central catheters rather than central venous catheters or pulmonary artery catheters in the neurocritical care unit reduced procedural and infection risk without compromising patient management.