Repositioning of central venous access devices using a high-flow flush technique – a clinical practice and cost review



Malpositioned central venous access device (CVAD) tip locations can cause significant mechanical and chemical vessel-related injuries and complications if left in inappropriate positions. The aim of this study is to determine the use of a high-flow flush technique (HFFT) in successful correction of malpositioned catheters into the lower superior vena cava or cavoatrial junction and provide a cost comparison to interventional/fluoroscopic-based repositioning.


This is a Retrospective chart and radiographic review of all inserted CVADs found malpositioned between 1996-2014 in a multi-specialty 1000-bed tertiary trauma center in Sydney, Australia. 7450 CVADs placed by a nurse-led vascular access service were reviewed. Catheters repositioned pre-2010 were excluded owing to radiology repositioning interventions.


There were 3996 peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) and 3454 centrally inserted central catheters (CICCs) placed. Seventy-four were malpositioned post-2010. Of these, 53 devices were repositioned using the studied technique; 86% (46/53) of catheters were successfully repositioned on the first HFFT attempt. There was supportive evidence that device insertion side is important in potential catheter malposition.


Clinical outcomes suggest that CICCs and PICCs may be successfully repositioned utilizing this technique, with no adverse events associated and a prospective cost saving benefit when compared to interventional-based repositioning procedures. Post author correction Article Type: ORIGINAL RESEARCH ARTICLE Article Subject: Nursing DOI:10.5301/jva.5000748 Authors: Timothy R.Spencer Disclosures Financial support: No grants or funding have been received for this study. Conflict of interest: None of the authors has financial interest related to this study to disclose.