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Risk factors for arterial catheter failure and complications during critical care hospitalisation: a secondary analysis of a multisite, randomised trial.

OBJECTIVES: Arterial catheters (ACs) are critical for haemodynamic monitoring and blood sampling but are prone to complications. We investigated the incidence and risk factors of AC failure.

METHODS: Secondary analysis of a multi-centre randomised controlled trial (ACTRN 12610000505000). Analysis included a subset of adult intensive care unit patients with an AC. The primary outcome was all-cause device failure. Secondary outcomes were catheter associated bloodstream infection (CABSI), suspected CABSI, occlusion, thrombosis, accidental removal, pain, and line fracture. Risk factors associated with AC failure were investigated using Cox proportional hazards and competing-risk models.

RESULTS: Of 664 patients, 173 (26%) experienced AC failure (incidence rate [IR] 37/1000 catheter days). Suspected CABSI was the most common failure type (11%; IR 15.3/1000 catheter days), followed by occlusion (8%; IR 11.9/1,000 catheter days), and accidental removal (4%; IR 5.5/1000 catheter days). CABSI occurred in 16 (2%) patients. All-cause failure and occlusion were reduced with ultrasound-assisted insertion (failure: adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 0.43, 95% CI 0.25, 0.76; occlusion: sub-HR 0.11, 95% CI 0.03, 0.43). Increased age was associated with less AC failure (60-74 years HR 0.63, 95% CI 0.44 to 0.89; 75 + years HR 0.36, 95% CI 0.20, 0.64; referent 15-59 years). Females experienced more occlusion (adjusted sub-HR 2.53, 95% CI 1.49, 4.29), while patients with diabetes had less (SHR 0.15, 95% CI 0.04, 0.63). Suspected CABSI was associated with an abnormal insertion site appearance (SHR 2.71, 95% CI 1.48, 4.99).

CONCLUSIONS: AC failure is common with ultrasound-guided insertion associated with lower failure rates. Trial registration Australian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry (ACTRN 12610000505000); date registered: 18 June 2010.

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