Second intravenous line in trauma


Intravenous literature: Merlin, M.A., Kaplan, E., Schlogl, J., Suss, H., Dossantos, F.D., Ohman-Strickland, P. and Shiroff, A. (2011) Study of placing a second intravenous line in trauma. Prehospital Emergency Care. 15(2), p.208-13.


Objective – We evaluated the benefit of emergency medical services providers? placing a second intravenous (IV) line in the prehospital trauma setting. Our hypothesis was that the placement of a second IV catheter in trauma does not result in an improvement in heart rate, blood pressure, rehospitalizaton rate, or 30-day mortality.

Methods – A retrospective chart review of 320 trauma patients in a one-year period was conducted at our level I trauma center. All trauma patients who had vascular access obtained prehospitally were included.

Results – Patients with two IV lines received an average of 348.4 mL more fluid (95% confidence interval [CI]: 235.6, 461.1; p < 0.0001). No change in heart rate, pulse oximetry, Glasgow Coma Scale score, systolic blood pressure, rehospitalization rate, or 30-day mortality was noted. These effects persisted for patients who were initially tachycardic (heart rate 3.92 bpm; 95% CI ?3.01, 10.82; p = 0.27) or hypotensive (blood pressure 22.00 mmHg; 95% CI ?4.17, 48.16; p = 0.10).

Conclusions – Redundant prehospital IV lines provided no noticeable benefit in physiologic support for trauma patients. When controlling for confounding variables, no significant outcome difference was noted, even in the hypotensive patients. The traditional approach for establishment of a secondary IV line in prehospital trauma patients should not be followed in a dogmatic fashion.

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