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Bloodstream infections associated with intravascular access devices are potentially among the most dangerous complications of healthcare that can occur, worsening the severity of the patients underlying ill health, prolonging the period of hospitalisation and increasing the cost of care. Almost 64% of patients in the UK with an intravascular device acquire a catheter related bloodstream infection (CR-BSI) (HPA 2012).



The number of patients requiring central venous access continues to grow as the management of disease and trauma improves and life expectancy is prolonged. PICCs are used for many patients in a wide array of circumstances, so establishing and maintaining safe, appropriate and reliable access and care for this group of patients is vital. This policy outlines measures that will be implemented to reduce the risk of infection in any adult with a PICC.



Patients requiring PICC lines are particularly prone to infections, therefore meticulous care needs to be taken when handling the lines. Aseptic technique must be used at all times.

This policy is to ensure that there is standard high quality care of PICC lines in the Trust with an overall aim of minimising the risk of infection.

It can be used for the delivery of cytotoxic therapy, parenteral nutrition, therapy requiring central access or long term antibiotic therapy (greater than four weeks). It is also possible to deliver blood products via a PICC.

A PICC can be used by any nurse/doctor who has been assessed as both competent to administer intravenous therapy and competent in caring for PICC lines (see Appendix 1).


Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: The Infection Control Team
Ratified by: Clinical Governance Committee
Date Ratified: April 2018
Date Issued: August 2019
Review Date: April 2020
Target Audience: All staff
Contact name: Ann Birler, Nurse Consultant / Deputy Director of Infection Prevention and Control