Safe administration of vancomycin through a novel midline catheter: a randomized, prospective clinical trial

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According to the 2011 Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice, the low pH of intravenous vancomycin requires that it be administered through a central line. However, a careful review of the literature and a retrospective analysis of the experience at New York Hospital Queens (NYHQ) did not support the position of the Standards.


A prospective, controlled, randomized clinical trial was conducted to determine if intravenous vancomycin could be safely administered through a novel midline catheter (POWERWAND®, Access Scientific, San Diego, CA).


Patients scheduled to receive short-term (<6 days) intravenous vancomycin were randomly assigned to receive treatment through either a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) or the midline study device. Complications and the costs of insertion were recorded.


The two groups did not differ significantly with respect to total complications (17.9% with PICCs vs. 19.9% with the midline), phlebitis (0% vs. 0%) or thrombosis (0% vs. 0%). One suspected catheter-associated bloodstream infection did occur in the PICC group. Insertion costs were $90.00 less per insertion in the midline group.


Short-term intravenous vancomycin can be safely and cost-efficiently administered in the deep vessels of the upper arm using the midline study device.

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