Amiodarone-induced phlebitis: incidence and adherence to a clinical practice guideline

Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2023 Dec 14;22(8):824-831. doi: 10.1093/eurjcn/zvad003.


Aims: Intravenous amiodarone is an irritant of peripheral blood vessels with phlebitis as an adverse effect. The aims were to determine the incidence of intravenous amiodarone-induced phlebitis, to describe adherence to a clinical practice guideline, and to determine how characteristics were distributed between those with and without phlebitis.

Methods and results: A prospective observational study was conducted. Adult patients treated with amiodarone through a peripheral intravenous catheter (PIVC) or a central venous catheter were included. PIVC characteristics were measured using the PIVC mini questionnaire. Patients with ≥two signs of phlebitis were categorized as having phlebitis. Adherence to the clinical practice guideline was registered on a standard abstract sheet. Data were collected from the amiodarone start-up to 2 days after the amiodarone was discontinued. In total, 124 patients with amiodarone infusions were observed, of which 69% were administered via a PIVC. The phlebitis rate was 44%. Fifty-three per cent developed amiodarone-induced phlebitis during the infusion phase, while 47% presented phlebitis during the post-infusion phase. The three most observed signs or symptoms of phlebitis were redness (87%), pain (81%), and swelling (71%). The most commonly used PIVC site was the elbow, and 35% of the PIVCs were large (18 gauge), which was the last preferred site and size according to the clinical practice guideline.

Conclusion: A large proportion of the patients developed amiodarone-induced phlebitis. The adherence to the clinical practice guideline was not optimal according to the PIVC recommendations. Prevention of amiodarone-induced phlebitis should have high priority to reduce patient harm.

Keywords: Cardiac arrhythmias; Clinical practice guideline; Intravenous amiodarone; Phlebitis.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amiodarone* / adverse effects
  • Catheterization, Peripheral* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Phlebitis* / chemically induced
  • Phlebitis* / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies


  • Amiodarone