Hickman catheter

Last revised by Dr Jeremy Jones on 18 Sep 2021

Hickman catheters (or Hickman lines) are a type of tunnelled central venous access line.

  • chemotherapy administration 2
  • parenteral nutrition 2
  • long-term parenteral antibiotic administration 2
  • arrhythmia (most common) 1
  • arterial injury
  • kinking
  • pneumothorax
  • failure
  • infection (most common) 1,2
  • occlusion
  • thrombosis
  • tip migration

In the late 1970s, Robert O Hickman (1926-2019) 4, was a Fellow in pediatric nephrology, at the University of Washington in Seattle. He was asked by the bone marrow transplant nurses to create a new catheter for their patients. He modified the then widely-used Broviac catheter to create the Hickman catheter. The only difference was one of size, at that time the Broviac catheter was a 6.5 French gauge (Fr) catheter, whilst the original Hickman catheter was 9.6 Fr 3.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: Hickman catheter
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