Diligence Encouraged to Minimize PVAD Complications

Peripheral venous access devices (PVADs) are considered safer and easier to manage than central lines, but safer doesn’t mean without risk, and PVADs still require diligence to prevent complications, according to an article in Critical Care Nurse (CCN).

Short peripheral catheters (SPCs) and peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) are the focus of “Complications of Peripheral Venous Access Devices: Prevention, Detection and Recovery Strategies,” published in the journal’s April 2017 issue.

An estimated 80 percent of hospitalized patients in the United States receive an SPC for intravenous therapy during their stay. The use of PICCs is steadily increasing, although they remain less common than other venous access devices.

Author Elizabeth A. Mattox, RN, MSN, MS, ACNPC, ACNP-BC, CPPS, is an acute care nurse practitioner in the pulmonary and critical care medicine division at the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle.

“PVADs are omnipresent in healthcare, yet many complications of their use are under-recognized,” Mattox said. “The sheer pervasiveness of PVADs demands attention to prevent complications and reduce the potential for harm. Integrating these evidence-based strategies into nursing practice can help improve patient outcomes.”

In the article, she reviews several PVAD-related complications including tourniquet retention, tubing and catheter misconnections, phlebitis, air embolism, embolization of device fragments and inadvertent discharge of patients prior to removal of a PVAD.

For each complication, the article provides nursing-specific strategies for prevention, detection and recovery.

Accompanying sidebars offer additional information specific to SPC-related bloodstream infections and clinical scenarios resulting in air embolism, which are rare but potentially deadly complications.

Access the article abstract and full-text PDF by visiting the CCN website at http://ccn.aacnjournals.org/.

Source: American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

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