The intravenous route in hospital patients – Is this being misused?

Abstract number: P1273

George A., George M., McKain S., Shute K., Swarnkar K., Grant I., Defriend D., Turner P.

Aims: It is assumed that almost every patient who is admitted to hospital will have a peripheral cannula inserted. It is observed that patients receive intravenous therapy long after resuming a normal gut function. The aim of this study was to assess if intravenous therapy could be terminated sooner thereby avoiding the associated costs and increased patient morbidity

Methods: 200 randomly selected medical and surgical hospital in-patients across three NHS Trusts in Southern England who had a peripheral venous cannulae inserted for intravenous therapy were monitored daily for 8 days or until removal of the cannula – whichever came first. A non-interventional study was undertaken by gathering information on all aspects of intravenous therapy including intravenous fluids and antibiotics that the patient received. The ability of the patient to take a normal diet was also checked – this signifying that the patient had a normally functioning gut, which could absorb oral fluids and medicines, whereby, use of the intravenous route could have been avoided.

Results: 74% of cannulae continued to be used in patients to give intravenous fluids and antibiotics inspite of the patient being on a normal diet. 40% of the cannulae were left in for more than 48 hours after their use had stopped with a minority being left in for more than 120 hours. The tendency for healthcare personnel to continue patients on intravenous fluids and medication in spite of the patient on a normal diet was largely attributed to the lack of awareness among the healthcare personnel

Discussion: This study highlights an urgent need to increase the awareness among the healthcare personnel. The ability of a patient to fully absorb oral medications while on a normal diet is being stressed along with the need to increase oral fluid intake of the patient instead of continuing on intravenous fluids. Though peripheral cannulae are essential in patients, their use should be regulated and carefully monitored.

Peripheral intravenous cannulation is an innocuous procedure but has a potential for significant morbidity and increased healthcare costs. The use beyond necessity remains singularly unrecognised. Attention to detail and continuing education of the healthcare personnel is all important.

Session Details

Date: 19/04/2008
Time: 00:00-00:00
Session name: 18th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Presentation type:
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