Safety of prolonging peripheral cannula and i.v. tubing use from 72 hours to 96 hours

Am J Infect Control. 1998 Feb;26(1):66-70. doi: 10.1016/s0196-6553(98)70063-x.


Objective: To compare the rates of phlebitis of peripheral intravenous lines left in place for 72 hours versus rates of those left in place 96 hours.

Design: A prospective, nonrandomized study.

Setting: A university teaching hospital with 375 beds.

Patients: Consecutive adult patients who received peripheral intravenous lines and were admitted to the wards.

Measurements: The phlebitis rates were monitored by the i.v. Team for 1 month according to a predetermined definition for phlebitis: palpable cord or at least two of the following: tenderness, warmth, erythema, and induration.

Results: A total of 2503 peripheral lines were evaluable. The overall phlebitis rate was 6.8%. The phlebitis rates for lines left in for 72 and 96 hours were not significantly different (3.3% vs 2.6%, p = 1.000) by Fisher's Exact Test and survival analysis. It was estimated that in 1 month approximately 300 intravenous lines potentially could be prolonged beyond 72 hours; 215 lines were changed at 72 hours despite no signs of inflammation, 61 lines were kept till 96 hours, and 19 lines were kept beyond 96 hours.

Conclusions: Phlebitis rate for our peripheral intravenous catheters at 96 hours was not significantly different from that at 72 hours. If intravenous cannulas and lines were prolonged to 96 hours, a potential cost saving of $61,200 per year could be realized.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Catheterization, Peripheral / adverse effects*
  • Catheterization, Peripheral / economics
  • Catheterization, Peripheral / instrumentation*
  • Cost Savings
  • Cross Infection / etiology*
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Infection Control
  • Massachusetts
  • Phlebitis / etiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Safety
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors