Background Percutaneous long lines (PLL), widely used in neonatal intensive care units (NICU), are associated with several complications that may be influenced by both catheter size and material.
Objective To compare the complication rate of silicone versus polyurethane PLL.
Methods During a 48-month study period 381 PLL were inserted in 198 neonates: 183 silicone catheters (SC: Neocath, Vygon, 2 Fr) and 174 polyurethane catheters (PC: Premicath, Vygon, 1 Fr). Data analysed were birth weight (BW), gestational age (GA), age and weight at placement, duration and complications.
Results PC were placed in infants with lower GA (28.4 ± 2.8 vs 31.3 ± 4.1 weeks) and BW (1026 ± 449 vs 1584 ± 788 g). At the time of placement the day of life was similar (SC: 17.5 ± 13.5 vs PC 17.4 ± 13.9), whereas the weight was significantly lower in the PC group (1173 ± 621 vs 1624 ± 732 g). There were no differences in PLL duration between the two groups (SC: 17.5 ± 13.9 vs PC: 17.4 ± 13.5 days). The rate of infections (30.2% vs 10.1%) and mechanical complications (20.8% vs 12%) was higher in the PC group. Regression analysis identifies the PC as a significant risk factor for overall complications (OR 3.2; 95% CI 1.9 to 5.4).
Conclusions SC showed fewer complications and their use should be preferable when possible.