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Impact of an interventional bundle on complications associated with peripheral venous catheters in elderly patients.

PURPOSE: Elderly patients admitted to geriatrics departments often require peripheral venous catheters (PVC), which should be inserted and maintained following a series of preventive recommendations. Our objective was to evaluate the impact of a training bundle comprising measures aimed at reducing complications associated with the use of PVC in elderly patients admitted to a tertiary teaching hospital.

METHODS: We performed a prospective study of patients who received a PVC within 24 h of admission to a geriatrics department. After a 10-month pre-interventional period, we implemented an educational and interventional bundle over a 9-month period. Follow-up was until catheter withdrawal. We analyzed and compared clinical and microbiological data between both study periods.

RESULTS: A total of 344 patients (475 PVC) were included (pre-intervention period, 204 patients (285 PVC); post-intervention period, 140 patients (190 PVC)). No statistically significant differences in demographic characteristics were observed between the study periods. The colonization and phlebitis rates per 1000 admissions in both periods were, respectively, 36.7 vs. 24.3 (p = 0.198) and 81.5 vs. 65.1 (p = 0.457). The main reason for catheter withdrawal was obstruction/malfunctioning (33.3%). Obstruction rate was higher for those inserted in the hand than for those inserted at other sites (55.7% vs. 44.3%, p = 0.045).

CONCLUSIONS: We found no statistically significant differences regarding phlebitis and catheter tip colonization rates. It is necessary to carry out randomized studies assessing the most cost-effective measure to reduce complications associated with PVC.

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