Background: Most babies admitted to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) require a peripheral intravenous catheter (PIVC). PIVCs are secured using splints and adhesive dressings applied to the skin. Removing the dressings causes skin injury, pain, and risks infection. We designed the Pēpi Splint, which supports PIVCs without the application of adhesive dressings to the skin. We sought to determine the effectiveness and acceptability of the Pēpi Splint using a proof-of-concept design.
Methods: Eligible babies were > 1000 g and > 30 weeks’ corrected gestation admitted to Wellington Regional NICU and who required a PIVC. All babies received the same care as those not in the study, with the addition of the Pēpi Splint. Primary outcomes were the proportion of babies in which the Pēpi Splint secured the PIVC for the required time and proportion of babies who experience an adverse event. Secondary outcomes were the acceptability of the Pēpi Splint as reported by the parents.
Results: Thirty-eight babies, median (range) birth weight 2625 g (396-4970) and gestation 37wk (22-41). When the Pēpi was applied the postnatal weight was 2969 g (1145 – 4970) and gestation 37wk (29 – 41). The Pēpi Splint held the PIVC secure for 34/38 babies (89%), for a duration of 37 h (6 to 97). There were no adverse events. Of the four babies reported to have unsecure PIVCs, two were due to the securement two were displaced during feeding. Fifty-eight parents responded to a questionnaire (32 mothers, 26 fathers). Of these parents 52 (90%) would participate again and 52 (90%) would recommend participating to others. Overall, clinicians reported the Pēpi Splint was easy to use 33/38 (87%).
Conclusion: The Pēpi Splint safely secures PIVCs without adhesive dressings being applied to the skin and is acceptable to both parents and clinicians. Our findings provide support for a larger multicentred randomised controlled trial.
Trial registration: Registered with the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry Reference ACTRN12620001335987.Reference:
Harris DL, Schlegel M, Markovitz A, Woods L, Miles T. Securing peripheral intravenous catheters in babies without applying adhesive dressings to the skin: a proof-of-concept study. BMC Pediatr. 2022 May 18;22(1):291. doi: 10.1186/s12887-022-03345-8. PMID: 35585521; PMCID: PMC9116013.