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The surge in critically ill patients has pressured hospitals to expand their intensive care unit capacities and critical care staff. This was difficult given the country’s shortage of intensivists. This paper describes the implementation of a multidisciplinary central line placement team and its impact in reducing the vascular access workload of ICU physicians during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vascular surgeons, interventionalists, and anesthesiologists, were redeployed to the ICU Access team to place central and arterial lines. Nurses with expertise in vascular access were recruited to the team to streamline consultation and assist with line placement.
While 51 central and arterial lines were placed per 100 ICU patients in 2019, there were 87 central and arterial lines placed per 100 COVID-19 ICU patients in the sole month of April, 2020. The ICU Access Team placed 107 of the 226 vascular access devices in April 2020, reducing the procedure-related workload of ICU treating teams by 46%.
The ICU Access Team was able to complete a large proportion of vascular access insertions without reported complications. Given another mass casualty event, this ICU Access Team could be reassembled to rapidly meet the increased vascular access needs of patients.