To assess the effect on staff- and patient-related complications of a needleless intermittent intravenous access system with a reflux valve for peripheral infusions.
A 6-month cross-over clinical trial (phase I, 13 weeks; phase II, 12 weeks) of a needleless intermittent intravenous access system (NL; study device) compared to a conventional heparin-lock system (CHL, control device) was performed during 1991 on 16 medical and surgical units. A random selection of patients was assessed for local intravenous-site complications; all patients were assessed for the development of nosocomial bacteremia and device-related complications. Staff were assessed for percutaneous injuries and participated in completion of product evaluations. A cost analysis of the study compared to the control device was performed.
A 1,100-bed, teaching, referral medical center.
PATIENTS AND STAFF PARTICIPANTS:
594 patients during 602 patient admissions, comprising a random sample of all patients with a study or control device inserted within a previous 24-hour period on study and control units, were assessed for local complications. The 16 units included adult inpatient general medicine, surgical, and subspecialty units. Pediatrics, obstetrics-gynecology, and intensive-care units were excluded. All patients on study and control units were assessed for development of nosocomial bacteremia and device-related complications. All staff who utilized, manipulated, or may have been exposed to sharps on study and control units were assessed for percutaneous injuries. Nursing staff completed product evaluations.
The study device, a needleless intermittent intravenous access system with a reflux valve, was compared to the control device, a conventional heparin lock, for peripheral infusions.
During the study, 35 percutaneous injuries were reported. Eight injuries were CHL-related; no NL-related injuries were reported (P=.007). An evaluation of 602 patient admissions, 1,134 intermittent access devices, and 2,268 observed indwelling device days demonstrated more pain at the insertion site for CHL than NL; however, no differences in objective signs of phlebitis were noted. Of 773 episodes of positive blood cultures on study and control units, 6 (0.8%) were device-related (assessed by blinded investigator), with no difference between NL and CHL. Complications, including difficulty with infusion (P<.001) and disconnection of intravenous tubing from device (P<.001), were reported more frequently with CHL than with NL. Of nursing staff responding to a product evaluation survey, 95.2% preferred the study over control device. The projected annual incremental cost to our institution for hospitalwide implementation of NL for intermittent access for peripheral infusions was estimated at $82,845, or $230 per 1,000 patient days.
A needleless intermittent intravenous access system with a reflux valve for peripheral infusions is effective in reducing percutaneous injuries to staff and is not associated with an increase in either insertion-site complications or nosocomial bacteremia. Institutions should consider these data, available institutional resources, and institution-specific data regarding the frequency and risk of intermittent access-device-related injuries and other types of sharps injuries in their staff when selecting the above or other safety devices.