Errors associated with intravenous (IV) fluid therapy administration

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Intravenous literature: Mousavi, M., Khalili, H. and Dashti-Khavidaki, S. (2012) Errors in fluid therapy in medical wards. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy. Mar 6. [Epub ahead of print].

Abstract:

Background: Intravenous fluid therapy remains an essential part of patients’ care during hospitalization. There are only few studies that focused on fluid therapy in the hospitalized patients, and there is not any consensus statement about fluid therapy in patients who are hospitalized in medical wards.

Objective: The aim of the present study was to assess intravenous fluid therapy status and related errors in the patients during the course of hospitalization in the infectious diseases wards of a referral teaching hospital.

Setting: This study was conducted in the infectious diseases wards of Imam Khomeini Complex Hospital, Tehran, Iran.

Methods: During a retrospective study, data related to intravenous fluid therapy were collected by two clinical pharmacists of infectious diseases from 2008 to 2010. Intravenous fluid therapy information including indication, type, volume and rate of fluid administration was recorded for each patient. An internal protocol for intravenous fluid therapy was designed based on literature review and available recommendations. The data related to patients’ fluid therapy were compared with this protocol. The fluid therapy was considered appropriate if it was compatible with the protocol regarding indication of intravenous fluid therapy, type, electrolyte content and rate of fluid administration.

Main outcome measure: Any mistake in the selection of fluid type, content, volume and rate of administration was considered as intravenous fluid therapy errors.

Results: Five hundred and ninety-six of medication errors were detected during the study period in the patients. Overall rate of fluid therapy errors was 1.3 numbers per patient during hospitalization. Errors in the rate of fluid administration (29.8%), incorrect fluid volume calculation (26.5%) and incorrect type of fluid selection (24.6%) were the most common types of errors. The patients’ male sex, old age, baseline renal diseases, diabetes co-morbidity, and hospitalization due to endocarditis, HIV infection and sepsis are predisposing factors for the occurrence of fluid therapy errors in the patients.

Conclusion Our result showed that intravenous fluid therapy errors occurred commonly in the hospitalized patients especially in the medical wards. Improvement in knowledge and attention of health-care workers about these errors are essential for preventing of medication errors in aspect of fluid therapy.

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