Cardiology in the Young

Original Articles

A model for a nurse-led programme of bedside placement of peripherally inserted central catheters in neonates and infants with congenital cardiac disease

Deborah S. Kinga1, Eduardo da Cruza2 and Jon Kaufmana2 c1

a1 Division of Nursing, The Children’s Hospital, Aurora, Colorado, United States of America

a2 The Heart Institute, Division of Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado, United States of America


Background Neonates and infants with congenital and acquired cardiac disease often require placement of central venous lines for extended intravenous therapy. It may be advantageous to avoid the larger venous vessels of the head and neck and lower extremities in order to preserve these for future interventions and therapies. We evaluated the results of a nursing led peripherally inserted central catheter team in our congenital cardiac centre.

Materials and methods Bedside peripherally inserted central catheter the insertion procedures were evaluated for success, complications, and completion of therapy.

Results A total of 125 peripherally inserted central catheters were successfully placed in 105 patients. The mean age at the time of placement was 13.5 plus or minus 19.1 days; median age was 7 days; mean weight was 3.5 plus or minus 1.1 kilogram. Cyanotic cardiac disease accounted for 76% of the diagnoses. Central placement of these lines was successful in 78% of patients. Complications during insertions were limited to inadvertent arterial access in five (3%) infants and oxygen desaturations during sedation for the procedure in two (1%) patients. None of the infants suffered long-term compromise from arterial access; none required intubation for the desaturations. The team was able to respond to 90% of their requests within 24 hours. Median catheter dwell time was 14 days.

Conclusion In a population of infants with cardiac disease, a nursing staffed peripherally inserted central catheter team achieved an insertion rate of 78% with few complications and a rapid response time. Reliance on bedside insertion permits continuous critical care monitoring and may eliminate the need for fluoroscopy.

(Received October 02 2009)

(Accepted November 22 2009)

(Online publication March 29 2010)


c1 Correspondence to: Dr J. Kaufman, MD, The Heart Institute Division of Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, The Children’s Hospital of Denver, School of Medicine, University of Colorado at Denver, 13123 East 16th Avenue, B-100, Aurora, Co 80045- USA. Tel: +1 720 777 6992; Fax: +1 720 777 7290; E-mail: