Variation in Arterial and Central Venous Catheter Use in Pediatric Intensive Care Units

Malini Mahendra, Patrick McQuillen, R. Adams Dudley, Martina A. Steurer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Objective: Describe patient and hospital characteristics associated with Arterial Catheter (AC) or Central Venous Catheter (CVC) use among pediatric intensive care units (ICUs). Design: Hierarchical mixed effects analyses were used to identify patient and hospital characteristics associated with AC or CVC placement. The ICU adjusted median odds ratios (ICU-AMOR) for the admission ICU, marginal R2, and conditional intraclass correlation coefficient were reported. Setting: 166 PICUs in the Virtual PICU Systems (VPS, LLC) Database. Patients: 682,791 patients with unscheduled admissions to the PICU. Intervention: None. Measures and Main Results: ACs were placed in (median, [interquartile range]) 8.2% [4.9%-11.3%] of admissions, and CVCs were placed in 14.9% [10.4%-19.3%] of admissions across cohort ICUs. Measured patient characteristics explained about 25% of the variability in AC and CVC placement. Higher Pediatric Index of Mortality 2 (PIM2) illness severity scores were associated with increased odds of placement (Odds Ratio (95th% Confidence Interval)) AC: 1.88 (1.87-1.89) and CVC: 1.82 (1.81-1.83) per 1 unit increase in PIM2 score. Primary diagnoses of cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, hematology/oncology, infectious, renal/genitourinary, rheumatology, and transplant were associated with increased odds of AC or CVC placement compared to a primary respiratory diagnosis. Presence of in-house attendings 24/7 was associated with increased odds of AC placement 1.32 (1.11-1.57). Admission ICU explained 4.9% and 3.5% of the variability in AC or CVC placement, respectively. The ICU-AMOR showed a patient would have a median increase in odds of 55% and 43% for AC or CVC placement, respectively, if the same patient moved from an ICU with lower odds of placement to an ICU with higher odds of placement. Conclusions: Variation in AC or CVC use exists among PICUs. The admission ICU was more strongly associated with AC than with CVC placement. Further study is needed to understand unexplained variation in AC and CVC use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1250-1257
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number11
Early online dateSep 24 2020
StatePublished - Sep 24 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the NIH T32 Award NIH T32 award [grant number: HD049303-11] and from funds from the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, UCSF.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • central venous catheter
  • clinical research
  • epidemiology
  • hemodynamic monitoring
  • pediatric intensive care
  • resource utilization


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