Continuous infusion versus intermittent flushing: maintaining peripheral intravenous access in newborn infants

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OBJECTIVE:To compare the patency duration of a peripheral intravenous cannula (PIVC) using either continuous infusion with 5% dextrose or intermittent flushing with 0.9% saline.STUDY DESIGN:Prospective comparative cohort study, including full-term newborn infants in whom PIVC were placed for the administration of antibiotics. In cohort 1 (n = 48), 5% dextrose was infused at 3 ml h- 1; in cohort 2 (n = 50), the cannula was flushed six times daily with 2 ml 0.9% saline. Primary outcome was the duration of PIVC patency. Secondary outcomes included the occurrence of complications, time required by the nursing staff and the cost of materials.RESULT:Duration of PIVC patency was similar. However, significantly, more complications occurred in cohort 1 (P = 0.02), and both cost and time were significantly lower in cohort 2 (P = 0.001).CONCLUSION:Intermittent flushing and continuous infusion provide a similar duration of PIVC patency; however, intermittent flushing is associated with fewer complications, lower cost and reduced time.

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