Study demonstrates that patients receiving peripherally infused amiodarone are at high risk for phlebitis

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Intravenous literature: Brady Boyce, B.A. and Yee, B.H. (2012) Incidence and severity of phlebitis in patients receiving peripherally infused amiodarone. Critical Care Nurse. 32(4), p.27-34.

Abstract:

Background – Nurses noted that the rate of phlebitis was high when intravenous amiodarone was infused via a peripheral site. Hospital policy recommends a central vascular catheter, but this method is often not feasible because the drug is administered in emergent situations for short periods.

Objective – To determine the rate and severity of phlebitis in patients given peripherally infused amiodarone.

Methods – The literature, policy, and procedures for administration of amiodarone were reviewed; the pharmacy was consulted; and a data collection tool was developed. The tool was pilot tested and revised, and face validation was established. Data were collected during a 6-month period. A convenience sample was used.

Results – The study included a total of 12 patients. Each new infusion of intravenous amiodarone was considered a separate occurrence, for a total of 24 infusions. Various grades of phlebitis developed in 8 patients (67%). Phlebitis developed at 12 of the 24 infusion sites (50%).

Conclusions – Patients receiving peripherally infused amiodarone are at high risk for phlebitis. This complication may lead to infection, additional medical intervention, delay in treatment, and prolonged hospitalization.

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