Insertion of peripheral intravenous cannulae (PIVC) is the most common vascular access procedure performed in hospitals . Limm and colleagues have highlighted the prevalence of the “just in case” PIVC in Australia with Goddard and Thomas revealing a similar occurrence in the UK [2-5].
While we may have an unknown rationale for the insertion of PIVC, we also have an issue with the dwell time of PIVC. If we can’t resist inserting PIVCs, we also can’t resist taking a functioning PIVC out only to re-insert another. Considering the time, vessel health (reduced peripheral vein options) operator success and potential infection this is a clinical procedure that one really wants performed on as few occasions where possible.
Much debate surrounds the optimum dwell time of the PIVC. Over the past 50 years this has ranged from clinical indication to 24hrs to 96hrs. Clinical indication for removal includes pain, erythema/redness, induration, infiltration/extravasation, or an abnormal phlebitis score. If the device is not required for intravenous therapy it should be removed.
- Is removing a functioning cannula without a clinical indication at 72hrs or 96hrs doing a disservice to your patient population?
- Is leaving it until clinical indication to risk potential bacteraemia wise?
- What evidence is this based on?
- What is your departmental/hospital policy on PIVC removal?
- Is there any high level evidence for this?
Discussion and debate over PIVC removal indications
At the 2013 Association for Vascular Access Scientific Meeting the Australian Vascular Access Research & Teaching (AVATaR) group presented a variety of vascular access studies. The Director of AVATaR Prof Claire Rickard delivered a keynote speech based in part on her recent Lancet publication “Routine versus clinically indicated replacement of PIVC” 
Current AVATaR Research
- The OMG Study - One Million Global catheters PIVC worldwide prevalence study
- The RSVP Trial - Intravascular device administration sets: Replacement after Standard Versus Prolonged use. A multi-centre, randomised controlled trial.
- The SAVE Trial - Securing All intraVenous devices Effectively in hospitals. A randomised controlled trial.
- O’Grady, N.P., et al., Guidelines for the prevention of intravascular catheter-related infections. Clin Infect Dis, 2011. 52(9): p. e162-93. [PMID 21460264]
- Goddard, L., et al., The ‘just-in-case venflon’: effect of surveillance and feedback on prevalence of peripherally inserted intravascular devices. The Journal of hospital infection, 2006. 64(4): p. 401-2. [PMID 17046109]
- Thomas, A., et al., Venflons: why can’t we resist putting them in? Journal of Hospital Infection, 2006. 63(1): p. 108-109. [PMID 16517008]
- Limm, E.I., et al., Half of All Peripheral Intravenous Lines in an Australian Tertiary Emergency Department Are Unused: Pain With No Gain? Annals of emergency medicine, 2013. [PMID 23623052]
- Loveday HP et al., epic3: National Evidence-Based Guidelines for Preventing Healthcare-Associated Infections in NHS Hospitals in England. Journal of Hospital Infection Volume 86, Supplement 1 , Pages S1-S70, January 2014 [PMID 24330862]
- Rickard CM et al., Routine versus clinically indicated replacement of peripheral intravenous catheters: a randomised controlled equivalence trial. Lancet. 2012 Sep 22;380(9847):1066-74 [PMID 22998716]