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Comparison of ED and inpatient placed peripheral IV catheters

"PIVCs have similar poor survival rates regardless of ED versus IP location of the insertion" Kache et al (2020).


Introduction: The survivorship of peripheral intravenous catheters (PIVCs) placed in hospitalized patients is shockingly poor and leads to frequent reinsertions. We aimed to evaluate differences in failure rates and IV insertion practices for PIVCs that are placed in the emergency department (ED) compared to those placed in the inpatient (IP) setting.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective electronic medical record review of PIVC survival at a single-site suburban, academic tertiary care referral center with 130,000 annual ED visits and 1100 inpatient beds. Adult patients admitted requiring at least one PIVC were included. The primary outcome was incidence of premature failure of PIVCs. Secondary outcomes included dwell time, completion of therapy, catheter diameter, and site of insertion as they relate to PIVC survival.

Results: Between January 2018 and July 2019, 90,743 IV catheters were included from 47,272 unique patient encounters in which 35,798 and 54,945 catheters were placed in the ED and IP units, respectively. There was no significant difference in failure rate between the ED and IP PIVCs, with 53.1% of ED PIVCs failing and 53.4% of IP PIVCs failing (p = 0.35). Mean dwell time for ED PIVCs was 3.4 days compared to a mean of 3.2 days for IP placed PIVCs (p < 0.001). 48% of ED PIVCs achieved completion of therapy at the first insertion compared to 59% of IP PIVCs (p < 0.001). The antecubital fossa and forearm had the lowest failure rate of 53% and 50%, respectively, and 22 gauge PIVCs had the highest failure rate of 60.5%.

Conclusion: PIVCs have similar poor survival rates regardless of ED versus IP location of the insertion. The forearm and antecubital fossa sites should be preferentially used. Smaller diameter (22G) catheters have highest complications and poorest survival regardless of site of insertion. Larger diameter catheters (18 or 20 gauge) may offer improved outcomes.


Kache S, Patel S, Chen NW, Qu L, Bahl A. Doomed peripheral intravenous catheters: Bad Outcomes are similar for emergency department and inpatient placed catheters: A retrospective medical record review. J Vasc Access. 2020 Nov 24:1129729820974259. doi: 10.1177/1129729820974259. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33234001.