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Am J Infect Control. 1998 Feb;26(1):66-70.

Safety of prolonging peripheral cannula and i.v. tubing use from 72 hours to 96 hours.

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  • 1Division of Infectious Disease and Immunology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester 01655, USA.



To compare the rates of phlebitis of peripheral intravenous lines left in place for 72 hours versus rates of those left in place 96 hours.


A prospective, nonrandomized study.


A university teaching hospital with 375 beds.


Consecutive adult patients who received peripheral intravenous lines and were admitted to the wards.


The phlebitis rates were monitored by the i.v. Team for 1 month according to a predetermined definition for phlebitis: palpable cord or at least two of the following: tenderness, warmth, erythema, and induration.


A total of 2503 peripheral lines were evaluable. The overall phlebitis rate was 6.8%. The phlebitis rates for lines left in for 72 and 96 hours were not significantly different (3.3% vs 2.6%, p = 1.000) by Fisher's Exact Test and survival analysis. It was estimated that in 1 month approximately 300 intravenous lines potentially could be prolonged beyond 72 hours; 215 lines were changed at 72 hours despite no signs of inflammation, 61 lines were kept till 96 hours, and 19 lines were kept beyond 96 hours.


Phlebitis rate for our peripheral intravenous catheters at 96 hours was not significantly different from that at 72 hours. If intravenous cannulas and lines were prolonged to 96 hours, a potential cost saving of $61,200 per year could be realized.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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