Tunneled Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) in Adult Patients and Associated Outcomes


Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre


Not yet enrolling


Catheter Rupture
CLABSI - Central Line Associated Bloodstream Infection
Dislodged Catheter
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Catheter (Other); Complications


Procedure: Non-tunnelling
Procedure: Subcutaneous tunnelling

Study type


Funder types




Details and patient eligibility


The aim of this multicenter randomized clinical trial is to compare the tunneling technique of PICC insertion with the non-tunneled insertion technique in the incidence of the combined or isolated outcome of catheter-related bloodstream primary infection, thrombosis, obstruction, and accidental dislodgement in the adult population within a period of up to 30 days.

Full description

The data published this year from a multicenter study in Brazil presenting the patterns of use and clinical outcomes of PICC indicated that centers with vascular access teams, adoption of best practices, and current technologies result in low rates of complications, such as primary bloodstream infections related to the catheter, deep vein thrombosis, and reversible occlusion. Despite these more recent data showing that complications related to PICC can be mitigated by the use of technology, vascular access teams, adoption of best practices, and infection control measures, there is still room to incorporate new techniques in PICC insertion with the aim of further reducing avoidable complications. For example, recent studies with robust methodology have demonstrated the benefit of the tunneling technique compared to the conventional insertion technique. A randomized clinical trial showed that the dwell time of the device inserted using the tunneling technique was longer compared to the conventional technique without tunneling in adult patients, along with a lower incidence of thrombosis and infection. At the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, recently, nurses from the PICC Team were trained in the tunneling technique at a reference center in Brazil. The initial results of tunneling in adult, pediatric, and neonatal patients are encouraging. The observed results of implementing the technique indicate that there is potential to reduce avoidable complications and prompt us to propose a multicenter randomized controlled trial involving two additional institutions with similar profiles regarding the composition of Vascular Access Teams, adoption of best practices related to catheter care, and active ongoing education. To our knowledge, robust studies of this nature are not currently being conducted in Brazil.


840 estimated patients




18+ years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

adult patients (>= 18 years old) admitted to medical clinics, surgical clinics, or ICU, who have an indication for PICC insertion;

Exclusion criteria

  • patients with Chronic Kidney Disease, whether dialytic or not;
  • patients in critical or unstable condition characterized by the need for intubation, respiratory rate <8 or >35 breaths per minute, oxygen saturation <90%, heart rate <40 or >140 beats per minute, systolic blood pressure <90mmHg, decreased Glasgow Coma Scale >2 points, or prolonged (>5 minutes) or repeated seizures;
  • patients with cognitive deficits that impair their understanding of the study and do not have a responsible party to assist in this stage.

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Parallel Assignment


Single Blind

840 participants in 2 patient groups

Tunneled PICC
Experimental group
The intervention group will consist of adult patients who will have PICCs inserted using the catheter tunneling technique. The technique involves the catheter being exteriorized through the skin at a site different from the blood vessel puncture site, thus traversing a subcutaneous tunnel.
Procedure: Subcutaneous tunnelling
Non-tunneled PICC
Active Comparator group
The control group will consist of adults patients who will have PICCs inserted using the conventional technique
Procedure: Non-tunnelling

Trial contacts and locations



Central trial contact

Eneida R Rabelo da Silva, ScD

Data sourced from clinicaltrials.gov

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