Background: Critically ill patients in an intensive care setting often require arterial catheters for blood pressure monitoring and arterial blood collection. Arterial catheter failure, which manifests in both mechanical and infective forms, remains common. Dressing and securement inadequacies may impact this failure; however, the best method for dressing and securing arterial catheters is yet to be determined.
Objectives: The objective of this study was to establish the feasibility of a definitive randomised controlled trial comparing methods for dressing and securing arterial catheters and to prevent device failure in an adult intensive care setting.
Methods: A pilot, parallel-group, randomised controlled trial was conducted between April 2017 and June 2018. Patients receiving treatment in two adult intensive care units (Queensland, Australia) were eligible for inclusion and were allocated to receive either (i) an integrated securement dressing or (ii) a simple polyurethane dressing (with gauze/foam), applied to their newly inserted arterial catheters.
Main outcome measures: Primary outcomes were (i) feasibility (defined by pre-established criteria: patient eligibility, consent, protocol adherence, retention, and staff acceptability) and (ii) all-cause arterial catheter failure (a composite of local and bloodstream infection, occlusion, dislodgement, infiltration/extravasation, arterial inflammation, thrombosis, and/or inaccurate trace). Secondary outcomes included: failure type, dwell time, dressing adhesion, adverse event profiles, and staff acceptability.
Results: In total, 109 patients were studied (n = 53 integrated securement dressing; n = 56 simple polyurethane). The feasibility criterion was met by most patients (including rates of consent [86%], protocol adherence [93%], and retention [100%]); however, the criteria for patient eligibility were not met (73%). All-cause device failure did not differ significantly between the integrated securement device group (n = 12/53, 23%) and the simple polyurethane group (n = 6/56, 11%) (hazard ratio = 2.39, 95% confidence interval = 0.89-6.37, p = 0.083).
Conclusions: Findings indicate a larger study is feasible, with minor alterations to recruitment methods required. Arterial catheter failure remains unacceptably common; further research to determine optimal dressing/securement practices is urgently needed.
Larsen EN, Corley A, Mitchell M, et al. A pilot randomised controlled trial of dressing and securement methods to prevent arterial catheter failure in intensive care . Aust Crit Care. 2020;S1036-7314(20)30228-9. doi:10.1016/j.aucc.2020.05.004