Safer alternatives to polyurethane PICC lines reduce infection risks and mortality rates

Polyurethane causes inflammation that leads to occlusion of the venous catheter, leads to blood clots, and causes blood-steam infections. Simply using a safer PICC line will save lives and prevent disabling injuries” … Greg Vigna, MD, JD, national pharmaceutical injury attorney.

Dr. Greg Vigna, national product liability attorney, “As a physician, I prescribed dozens of PICC lines for hospitalized patients when there was an ongoing clinical need for IV antibiotics and when further IV access of the small peripheral veins of the forearm or hand were no longer possible. In this common clinical situation, the risks of PICC line-related sepsis and blood clots must be weighed against changing the treatment plan away from IV.”

“Patients who require a PICC line have a mortality rate of 12.07% at 30 days, even without a PICC-line associated infection. The mortality rate pops up to 22.09% for those with an infection.” — Greg Vigna, MD, JD

Dr. Vigna continues, “Most of the PICC lines I prescribed were made of Polyurethane or Silicone which are unreasonably dangerous compared to the super-hydrophilic PICC lines that are available. The super-hydrophilic PICC lines are made of a hydrogel-matrix which substantially reduces the risk of infection, occlusion, and blood clots because they prevent bacterial and platelet adhesion.”

What did the study “Early mortality attributed to PICC-lines in 4 public hospitals of Marseille from 2010 to 2016” report, in the Journal of Medicine. 2020 Jan; 99(1)?

“We recorded a total of 258 cases of PICC-line bacteremia with an average prevalence of 2.27% over a period of 7 years.”

“Over 75% of bacteremia cases occurred in the first 21 days after insertion.”

“Overall 30-day mortality of patients with a PICC-line was 12.07% ”

“Mortality of patients with bacteremia was significantly higher 22.09% than the control group 11.83%”

To see the study:

What is sepsis? Multiple organ damage from inflammation due to infection that may result in organ damage to the brain, kidney, heart, liver, and lung.

What is septic shock? A life-threatening condition that causes dangerously low blood pressure because of infection that may result in amputations of fingers and toes, brain damage, kidney failure, ventilator dependence, oxygen dependence, and nerve damage.

Dr. Vigna continues, “The study also indicated that patients who require a PICC line are generally very sick and have a mortality rate of 12.07% at 30 days, even without developing a PICC-line associated infection. The mortality rate, however, pops up to 22.09% for those with PICC line-associated bacteremia. Manufacturers who continue to sell Polyurethane PICC lines and hospitals that buy these devices are exposed to the harm caused when a nurse or physician takes them off the shelf to insert them into an unknowing patient.”

Dr. Vigna concludes, “There are safer designs of the tubing that goes into the vein that are made of a hydrogel matrix that prevents bacterial adhesion which appears to decrease the risk of infection when compared with the old, outdated polyurethane tubing. There is no justification for the continued use of polyurethane PICC lines, midlines, or central lines given there is a safer technology available that reduces the risk of infection, and this technology has been available for over two decades. We are investigating ICU and other hospital-acquired sepsis cases associated with central lines, PICC lines, and midlines.”

Dr. Vigna is a California and Washington DC lawyer who represents those with serious injuries caused by defective medical devices including PICC lines and Med-Ports that lead to sepsis. He represents the injured with the Ben Martin Law Group, a national pharmaceutical injury law firm in Dallas, Texas. The attorneys are product liability and medical malpractice attorneys, and they represent the most injured across the country.


Greg Vigna, MD, JD
Vigna Law Group
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