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J Paediatr Child Health. 2019 Apr 29. doi: 10.1111/jpc.14482. [Epub ahead of print]

Flushing of peripheral intravenous catheters: A pilot, factorial, randomised controlled trial of high versus low frequency and volume in paediatrics.

Kleidon TM1,2, Keogh S2,3, Flynn J2,4,5, Schults J1,2,5, Mihala G2,6, Rickard CM2,4,5.

Author information

Department of Anaesthetics, Queensland Children's Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Alliance for Vascular Access Teaching and Research (AVATAR), Menzies Heath Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Nursing and Midwifery Research Centre, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Centre for Applied Health Economics, School of Medicine, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.



To test the feasibility of an efficacy trial comparing different flushing frequencies and volumes to reduce peripheral intravenous cannula (PIVC) failure in paediatric inpatients.


Pilot, 2 × 2 factorial, randomised controlled trial comparing PIVC flushing techniques in intervention pairs: (i) low volume (3 mL) versus high volume (10 mL); and (ii) low frequency (24 hourly) versus high frequency (6 hourly). Patients were excluded if: fluids were restricted, weight < 5 kg, PIVC already in situ for >24 h or continuous infusion. The primary end-point was feasibility (eligibility, recruitment, retention, protocol adherence, missing data and sample size estimates) of a large trial. Secondary end-points were PIVC failure (composite and individual), bloodstream infection and mortality.


A total of 919 children were screened from April to November 2015, with 55 enrolled. Screening feasibility criteria were not met, mainly due to continuous infusions and PIVCs in situ >24 h or planned for imminent removal. However, 80% of eligible participants consented, 2% withdrew, protocol adherence was 100%, and there was no missing primary end-point data. PIVC failure was significantly higher (hazard ratio = 2.90, 95% confidence interval: 1.11-7.54) in the 3 mL compared to the 10 mL group. There was no difference in failure between frequency groups (hazard ratio = 0.91, 95% confidence interval: 0.36-2.33). There was no interaction effect (P = 0.22).


Trial feasibility proved challenging due to eligibility criteria, which could be improved with additional recruiting staff. Firm conclusions cannot be made based on this small sample, but flush volume may impact PIVC failure.


adverse effects; catheterisation; paediatric; peripheral venous device; randomised controlled trial


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