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  1. Sharpe, Elizabeth DNP, APRN, NNP-BC, VA-BC
  2. Kuhn, Latoya MPH
  3. Ratz, David MS
  4. Krein, Sarah L. PhD
  5. Chopra, Vineet MD, MSc


Background: Neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) commonly utilize peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) to provide nutrition and long-term medications to premature and full-term infants. However, little is known about PICC practices in these settings.


Purpose: To assess PICC practices, policies, and providers in NICUs.


Methods: The Neonatal PICC1 Survey was conducted through the use of the electronic mailing list of a national neonatal professional organization's electronic membership community. Questions addressed PICC-related policies, monitoring, practices, and providers. Descriptive statistics were used to assess results.


Results: Of the 156 respondents accessing the survey, 115 (73.7%) indicated that they placed PICCs as part of their daily occupation. Of these, 110 responded to at least one question (70.5%) and were included in the study. Reported use of evidence-based practices by NICU providers varied. For example, routine use of maximum sterile barriers was reported by 90.4% of respondents; however, the use of chlorhexidine gluconate for skin disinfection was reported only by 49.4% of respondents. A majority of respondents indicated that trained PICC nurses were largely responsible for routine PICC dressing changes (61.0%). Normal saline was reported as the most frequently used flushing solution (46.3%). The most common PICC-related complications in neonates were catheter migration and occlusion.


Implications for Practice: Variable practices, including the use of chlorhexidine-based solutions for skin disinfection and inconsistent flushing, exist. There is a need for development of consistent monitoring to improve patient outcomes.


Implications for Research: Future research should include exploration of specific PICC practices, associated conditions, and outcomes.