Support Care Cancer. 2021 Jun;29(6):2803-2806. doi: 10.1007/s00520-021-06032-z. Epub 2021 Jan 29.
Choosing the appropriate vascular access device is a pivotal step to guarantee vessel health and preservation in cancer patients. The first turning point is the determination of the need for central venous catheters (CVCs) followed by the selection of the CVC that will complete the prescribed treatment while minimizing complications and satisfying patients' needs and expectations. Peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) have steadily grown over the years as an alternative to centrally inserted central catheters and totally implantable catheters based on several advantages including avoidance of placement-associated mechanical complications, easier transitions from hospital to intermediate care settings and home, but also increase in healthcare expenditure, supportive reimbursement policies, and ability to train existing staff. Notwithstanding PICCs have been perceived for a long time as associated with fewer complications, reduced costs, and higher patients' satisfaction compared to other CVCs, recent evidence has raised concerns about their safety profile without any benefits for longer-term costs neither for patients' satisfaction. This commentary offers a comprehensive overview on PICC-related (1) complications, (2) costs, and (3) patients' satisfaction to help healthcare professionals in the choice of the vascular device during their clinical practice. Based on the most recent literature, we finally suggested that the choice of the CVC should depend on the clinical situation with totally implantable catheters being the preferred device for patients who need intermittent long-term and high-dose chemotherapy, while PICCs may be a better choice for patients who need short-term chemotherapy or continuous short-term supportive therapy.