Intended for healthcare professionals


Catheter complications . . . and other stories

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 14 March 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l1045

Peripherally inserted central catheters

Peripherally inserted central catheters are convenient for delivering long term antibiotic treatment or chemotherapy. Complications, of which venous thromboembolism and bloodstream infection are the most serious, are well documented but thought to be uncommon. However, a prospective study finds that, if you ask patients directly, you get a different story (BMJ Qual Saf doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2018-008726). Among more than 400 patients, 60% reported signs or symptoms of at least one complication. Some, such as redness around the insertion site, were minor. Others, such as fever and chills, pain, and swelling of calves and chest pain, were potentially serious.

Small renal tumours

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