Indexed on: 22 Jul '14Published on: 22 Jul '14Published in: Anaesthesia
Peripherally inserted central catheters are often positioned blindly in the central circulation, and this may result in high malposition rates, especially in critically ill patients. Recently, a new technology has been introduced (Sherlock 3CG Tip Positioning System) that uses an electro-magnetic system to guide positioning in the superior vena cava, and then intra-cavity ECG to guide positioning at the cavo-atrial junction. In this observational study, we investigated how the Sherlock 3CG Tip Positioning System would affect peripherally inserted central catheter malposition rates, defined using a post-insertion chest radiograph, in critically ill patients. A total of 239 catheters positioned using the Sherlock 3CG Tip Positioning System were analysed. When an adequate position was defined as low superior vena cava or cavo-atrial junction, 134 catheters (56.1%; 95% CI 50-62%) were malpositioned. When an adequate position was defined as mid/low superior vena cava, cavo-atrial junction or high right atrium (≤ 2 cm from cavo-atrial junction), 49 (20.5%; 95% CI 16-26%) catheters were malpositioned. These malposition rates are significantly lower than our own historical data, which used a 'blind' anthropometric technique to guide peripherally inserted central catheter insertion.