Anatomical Structures to Be Concerned With During Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter Procedures

Dasom Kim, Jin Woo Park, Sung Bum Cho, Im Joo Rhyu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The central line has been frequently used for drug and nutrition supply and regular blood sampling of patients with chronic diseases. However, this procedure is performed in a highly sensitive area and has several potential complications. Therefore, peripherally inserted central catheters (PICC), which have various advantages, are being extensively used. Although the number of PICC procedures is increasing, the anatomy for safe procedures has not yet been properly established. Therefore, we studied basic anatomical information for safe procedures. Methods: We used 20 fixed cadavers (40 arms) donated to the Korea University College of Medicine. The mean age was 76.75 years (range, 48–94 years). After dissection of each arm, the distribution pattern of the basilic vein and close structures was recorded, and some important parameters based on bony landmarks were measured. In addition, the number of vein branches (axillary region) and basilic vein diameter were also checked. Results: The mean length from the insertion site to the right atrium was 38.39 ± 2.63 cm (left) and 34.66 ± 3.60 cm (right), and the basilic vein diameter was 4.93 ± 1.18 mm (left) and 4.08 ± 1.49 mm (right). The data showed significant differences between the left and right arms (P < 0.05). The mean distance from the basilic vein to brachial artery was 8.29 ± 2.78 mm in men and 7.81 ± 2.78 mm in women, while the distance to the ulnar nerve was 5.41 ± 1.67 mm in men and 5.52 ± 2.06 mm in women. Conclusion: According to these results, the right arm has a shorter distance from the insertion site to the right atrium, and the left arm has a wider vein diameter, which is advantageous for the procedure. In addition, the ulnar nerve and brachial artery were located close to or behind the insertion site. Therefore, special attention is required during the procedure to avoid damaging these important structures.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere329
JournalJournal of Korean medical science
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Korean Academy of Medical Sciences. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • Basilic Vein
  • Brachial Artery
  • Catheterization
  • Central Venous Catheters
  • Peripherally Inserted Central Line (PICC)
  • Ulnar Nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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