Clinically-indicated replacement versus routine replacement of peripheral venous catheters
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Most hospital patients receive fluids or medications via an intravenous catheter at some time during their hospital stay. An intravenous catheter is a short, hollow tube placed in the vein to allow administration ofmedications, fluids or nutrients directly into the bloodstream (also called a drip). These catheters are routinely replaced every three to four days, to try to prevent infection of the vein or of the blood. However, the evidence to support this practice is weak. Moreover, the procedure may cause considerable discomfort to patients and is quite costly. This review included all of the randomised controlled trials, which have compared routine catheter changes with changing the catheter only if there were signs of inflammation or infection. We found no evidence of benefit from these trials to support current practice of changing catheters every three to four days.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Copyright 2010 The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by JohnWiley & Sons, Ltd. This review is published as a Cochrane Review in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 3. Cochrane Reviews are regularly updated as new evidence emerges and in response to comments and criticisms, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews should be consulted for the most recent version of the Review.
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