In the United States, about 80% of hospital patients receive IV therapy as a routine part of treatment.† The Journal of Infusion Nursing reports that about 50% of IV lines fail due to infiltration, a clot in the cannula, an inflammatory response of the vein, or separation of the cannula from the vein.
According to current medical reports, more than 20% of IVs fail because of infiltration.*
When such a critical and high-volume medical procedure is overshadowed by failure rates of this magnitude, particularly when the medical industry is so strongly committed to patient safety, the need for a better solution is urgent.
An infiltration or extravasation occurs when fluids and/or the drugs delivered in those fluids leak out of the vein and into the surrounding tissue. Every failure of an IV risks a serious and potentially life-threatening drug delivery error, and physical harm. Complications can range from skin redness, swelling, burning, and pain to irreversible skin damage, surgical repair, or amputation.
The last line of defense in minimizing patient harm from IV infiltration is early detection to prevent the occurrence of serious incidents.
Visual and tactile examinations of IV sites by a healthcare professional are the most widely used methods for diagnosing and recording an infiltration event. Early detection may also depend on the patient’s ability to promptly communicate any pain or other symptoms. The diagnoses are subjective, and rely on the observer’s skill and experience.
A continuous monitoring device for peripheral IVs is the next step for minimizing potential for patient harm.
*Helm, R. E., Klausner, J.D., Klemperer, J.D., Flint, L.M., and Huang, E. (2015). “Accepted but Unacceptable: Peripheral IV Catheter Failure.” Journal of Infusion Nursing, 38(3), 189-203.
†Yucha, C. B., M. Hastings-Tolsma, and N.M. Szeverenyi, “Differences Among Intravenous Extravasations Using Four Common Solutions,” J. Intravenous Nurs., 16, 277-281, 1993.