JOURNAL ARTICLE

Accidental catheter removal in critically ill patients: a prospective and observational study

Leonardo Lorente, María S Huidobro, María M Martín, Alejandro Jiménez, María L Mora
Critical Care: the Official Journal of the Critical Care Forum 2004, 8 (4): R229-33
15312222

INTRODUCTION: The importance of accidental catheter removal (ACR) lies in the complications caused by the removal itself and by catheter reinsertion. To the best of our knowledge, no studies have analyzed accidental removal of various types of catheters in the intensive care unit (ICU). The objective of the present study was to analyze the incidence of ACR for all types of catheters in the ICU.

METHODS: This was a prospective and observational study, conducted in a 24-bed medical/surgical ICU in a university hospital. We included all consecutive patients admitted to the ICU over 18 months (1 May 2000 to 31 October 2001). The incidences of ACR for all types of catheters (both per 100 catheters and per 100 catheter-days) were determined.

RESULTS: A total of 988 patients were included. There were no significant differences in ACR incidence between the four central venous access sites (peripheral, jugular, subclavian and femoral) or between the four arterial access sites (radial, femoral, pedal and humeral). However, the incidence of ACR was higher for arterial than for central venous catheters (1.12/100 catheter-days versus 2.02/100 catheter-days; P < 0.001). The incidences of ACR/100 nonvascular catheter-days were as follows: endotracheal tube 0.79; nasogastric tube 4.48; urinary catheter 0.32; thoracic drain 0.56; abdominal drain 0.67; and intraventricular brain drain 0.66.

CONCLUSION: We found ACR incidences for central venous catheter, arterial catheter, endotracheal tube, nasogastric tube and urinary catheter that are similar to those reported in previous studies. We could not find studies that analyzed the ACR for thoracic, abdominal, intraventricular brain and cardiac surgical drains, but we believe that our rates are acceptable. To minimize ACR, it is necessary to monitor its incidence carefully and to implement preventive measures. In our view, according to establish quality standards, findings should be reported as ACR incidence per 100 catheters and per 100 catheter-days, for all types of catheters.

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