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Fresh concerns have been raised over use of central catheter

16 October, 2008

NSW Health has temporarily suspended the use of one type of peripherally-inserted Central Venous Catheter (PICC), following the issue of an advice on the product from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Concerns were first raised in Queensland, following complications reported in a small number of cases, when parts of a guide wire used to install the device, remained within the patient.

This complication is very rare and only a single case has been identified in a child in NSW this year. Chief health officer Jim Bishop has requested a review of all current inpatients who have this device inserted.

“This is a very effective way of delivering drugs and antibiotics to very sick patients. While we are taking precautions, the risk remains very low.”

“Our records indicate that only a small number of hospitals use this particular type of PICC- The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and hospitals within the Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service.

”PICC lines are typically a hollow thin tube, used to provide long term access when providing drugs and antibiotics into a patient. A wire is used to help insert the device and an x-ray confirms the correct placement.

Generally these type of complications are detected at the time of insertion or when the x-ray is taken.

Any patient who has concerns about their Inserted Catheter is urged to contact their health care professional.