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Comparison of Postinfusion Phlebitis in Intravenous Push Versus Intravenous Piggyback Cefazolin

Biggar, Constance BSN, RN, CRNI®, VA-BC; Nichols, Cynthia PhD

doi: 10.1097/NAN.0b013e3182706719

Reducing health care costs without adversely affecting patient safety is a constant challenge for health care institutions. Cefazolin prophylaxis via intravenous push (IVP) is more cost-effective than via intravenous piggyback (IVPB). The purpose of this study was to determine whether patient safety would be compromised (ie, an increased rate of phlebitis) with a change to the IVP method. Rates of phlebitis in orthopedic surgical patients receiving cefazolin prophylaxis via IVP versus IVPB were evaluated in a prospective quasi-experimental design of 240 patients. The first 120 subjects received cefazolin via IVPB, and the second 120 subjects received it via IVP. Results indicated no statistically significant difference in phlebitis rates in the IVPB (3.4%) versus the IVP groups (3.3%).

Munson Medical Center, Traverse City, Michigan (Ms Biggar and Dr Nichols).

Constance Biggar, BSN, RN, CRNI®, VA-BC, graduated from Marymount College in Salina, Kansas, and is currently the patient care coordinator of the IV team at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, Michigan. She has been a member of the IV team for 24 years and has been involved in all aspects of infusion therapy.

Cynthia Nichols, PhD, graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She is a biomedical statistician at Munson Medical Center and provides research and statistical support to hospital medical staff, nursing staff, and the institutional review board.

Corresponding Author: Constance Biggar (

The authors of this article have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

© Copyright 2012 by the Infusion Nurses Society