Infants are more likely to develop intravenous infiltrations due to the increased fragility of their blood vessels, deficient subcutaneous tissue and inability to express pain” Sangam (2019).
Intravenous infiltration is one of the most commonly seen morbidity in infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The risk of intravenous infiltration in preterm infants is probably due to prolonged peripheral intravenous access requirement for nutritional support and usage of other intravenous medications to support their growth. Infants are more likely to develop intravenous infiltrations due to the increased fragility of their blood vessels, deficient subcutaneous tissue and inability to express pain. As a result, the intravenous infiltrates in infants can rapidly progress to severe stage 3 and stage 4 infiltrates with necrosis if timely intervention is not provided. Also, factors obscuring to identify stage 1 and stage 2 infiltrates, may lead their progression to severe infiltration. Root cause analysis was performed following two severe intravenous infiltrates that required plastic surgery intervention in our level III NICU. Quality improvement measures were implemented. We developed a unique intravenous securing method, conducted educational programmes for NICU staff, increased intravenous site surveillance and ascertained to maintain the intravenous pump pressures in the reference range. The hospital NICU intravenous care policy was updated with quality improvement measures. Data were collected preintervention and postintervention. The incidence of intravenous infiltration in preterm infants varies widely in different places. This may be due to under-reporting of these relatively rare adverse events, but may also be due to the fact that the preterm infants represent a small portion of the patient population. The present study has shown that severe infiltration was associated with an increase in intravenous days. Following the quality improvement measures, there were no reported cases of severe intravenous infiltration. In conclusion, the awareness of the problem with evidence-based quality improvement measures may help in early detection of intravenous infiltrates and decrease the severe intravenous infiltration in infants.
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Sangam, S.L. (2019) Quality improvement measures for early detection of severe intravenous infiltration in infants. BMJ Open Quality. 8(2), p.e000407. doi: 10.1136/bmjoq-2018-000407. eCollection 2019.