NICE summary of review conclusions
This Cochrane systematic review concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support the routine replacement of patients’ peripheral intravenous catheters every 72 to 96 hours. Clinical teams should inspect catheter insertion sites for signs of infection at each shift change and adopt a policy of replacing catheters only when clinically indicated. Such a policy would lead to significant cost savings and prevent unnecessary discomfort for patients associated with routine catheter replacement.
The Implications for practice section of the Cochrane review stated:
The review found no difference in catheter-related bloodstream infection or phlebitis rates whether peripheral intravenous catheters are changed routinely every 72 to 96 hours or when clinically indicated. The consistency in these results, which include a very large multi-site study, indicate that healthcare organisations should adopt a clinically-indicated replacement policy. This would provide significant cost savings and would also be welcomed by patients, who would be spared the unnecessary pain of routine re-sites in the absence of clinical indications. Busy clinical staff would also reduce time spent on this intervention. To minimise peripheral catheter-related complications, the insertion site should be inspected at each shift change and the catheter removed if signs of inflammation, infiltration, or blockage are present.’