Infections from Peripherally Inserted IV Lines

March 8, 2019 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Peripheral intravenous (PIV) catheters—devices inserted into a patient's peripheral vein to deliver IV fluids—are commonly used items in healthcare. According to one estimate, more than 300 million short PIVs are sold each year in the United States, and nearly 80% of all hospitalized patients receive some form of IV therapy. Often, PIVs are inserted upon admission as a matter of course, in case the patient needs IV therapy at a later point. However, PIVs can expose patients to a significant risk of infection—one that is underreported, underrecognized, and often ignored, according to James Davis, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, HEM, CIC, FAPIC, senior infection prevention and patient safety analyst/consultant, ECRI Institute.

"Any time you break the skin, you're breaking down the body's first line of defense against infection," says Davis. "Patients might not need a peripheral line, but your staff might put one in just because the patient is admitted and they may need it at some...

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