Register for citation alerts


BACKGROUND: To date, few studies have investigated the occurrence of phlebitis related to insertion of a peripheral venous cannula (PVC) in an emergency department (ED).

AIM: To describe the natural history of ED-inserted PVC site use; the occurrence and severity of PVC-related phlebitis; and associations with patient, PVC and nursing care factors.

METHODS: A prospective study was undertaken of 1262 patients treated as urgent cases in EDs who remained in a medical unit for at least 24h. The first PVC inserted was observed daily until its removal; phlebitis was measured using the Visual Infusion Phlebitis Scale. Data on patient, PVC, nursing care and organizational variables were collected, and a time-to-event analysis was performed.

FINDINGS: The prevalence of PVC-related phlebitis was 31%. The cumulative incidence (78/391) was almost 20% three days after insertion, and reached >50% (231/391) five days after insertion. Being in a specialized hospital and receiving more nursing care (HR 0.988, 95% CI 0.983-0.993) were protective against PVC-related phlebitis at all time points. Missed nursing care increased the incidence of PVC-related phlebitis by approximately 4% (HR 1.038, 95% CI 1.001-1.077).

CONCLUSIONS: Missed nursing care and expertise of the nurses caring for the patient after PVC insertion affected the incidence of phlebitis; receiving more nursing care and being in a specialized hospital were associated with lower risk of PVC-related phlebitis. These are modifiable risk factors of phlebitis, suggesting areas for intervention at both hospital and unit level.


Palese, A., Ambrosi, E., Fabris, F., Guarnier, A., Barelli, P., Zambiasi, P., Allegrini, E., Bazoli, L., Casson, P., Marin, M., Padovan, M., Picogna, M., Taddia, P., Salmaso, D., Chiari, P., Marognolli, O., Canzan, F. and Saiani, L. (2015) Nursing care as a predictor of phlebitis related to insertion of a peripheral venous cannula in emergency departments: findings from a prospective study. The Journal of Hospital Infection. November 24th. .

DOI: 10.1016/j.jhin.2015.10.021.

Thank you to our partners for supporting IVTEAM