JAMA Intern Med. 2021 Sep 17. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.5345. Online ahead of print.
IMPORTANCE: Peripheral intravenous catheters (PVCs) are the most frequently used indwelling devices in hospitals worldwide. Peripheral intravenous catheter bloodstream infections (PVC-BSIs) are rare, but severe and preventable, adverse events.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the incidence of PVC-BSIs after changing the policy of routine PVC replacement every 96 hours to clinically indicated replacement.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This institution-wide, observational cohort study evaluated all patients hospitalized at a large university-affiliated hospital with 10 sites in Western Switzerland with a PVC insertion between January 1, 2016, and February 29, 2020.
EXPOSURES: Peripheral intravenous catheters were routinely replaced every 96 hours until March 31, 2018 (baseline period). Between April 1 and October 15, 2018, PVCs were replaced if clinically indicated (intervention period). From October 16, 2019, PVCs were again routinely replaced every 96 hours (reversion period).
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The PVC-BSI rates and PVC-BSI incidence rate ratios (IRRs) during each period.
RESULTS: A total of 412 631 PVCs with documented catheter duration were included (164 331 patients; median [interquartile range] patient age, 51 [33-72] years; 88 928 [54.1%] female): 241 432 PVCs at baseline, 130 779 at intervention, and 40 420 at reversion. Eleven PVC-BSIs were observed during the baseline period, 46 during the intervention, and 4 during the reversion period. Although the monthly number of PVC-days remained stable during all study periods, the number of monthly inserted PVCs decreased during the intervention period. The number of PVCs still in place more than 4 or more than 7 days was higher during the intervention period compared with the baseline and reversion periods. A significantly increased IRR of PVC-BSIs was observed for the intervention period (IRR, 7.20; 95% CI, 3.65-14.22; P < .001) compared with baseline, whereas during the reversion period there was no significant increase (IRR, 1.35; 95% CI, 0.30 6.17; P = .69).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The results of this cohort study using a large, prospective surveillance database suggest that replacement of PVCs only when clinically indicated may be associated with an increased risk of PVC-BSI compared with routine replacement. Even if PVC-associated BSI is a rare event, the use of PVCs in most patients makes this outcome relevant.