Sparse evidence exists about how short peripheral catheter (SPC) duration is affected by the presence of a saline lock versus continually infusing fluids. Often the choice to lock an SPC with saline is based on provider preference, rather than available evidence or patient-centered factors. This study compared the duration of 85 SPCs: locked with saline versus continuously running fluids. A secondary analysis considered the influence of a number of intermittent medications and flushes. Although the saline-locked group had a slightly longer duration time, it was not statistically significant. Factors such as desire to ambulate or nighttime saline flushes merit consideration in SPC care decisions and standardized nurse-driven protocols.
University of North Carolina Healthcare System, Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Drs Roszell and Smith-Miller, and Ms Rabinovich).
Sheila Serr Roszell, PhD, MSN, RN-BC, is the owner of Improvement Thinking Metrics, LLC, and is a quality data analyst for the University of North Carolina Healthcare System. She holds a BSN from the University of Missouri and an MSN and PhD in nursing, health care systems from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Holly Barlowe Rabinovich, BSN, RN, is a clinical nurse on an orthopedic trauma surgical unit at the University of North Carolina Healthcare System. She earned a BSN from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This project is her first foray into research.
Cheryl A. Smith-Miller, PhD, RN-BC, is a nurse researcher at the University of North Carolina Healthcare System. She is currently serving as a nurse scientist, facilitating clinical nurses' engagement in research. Her research interests include nurses' work, culture, diabetes, and health disparities.
Corresponding Author: Sheila Serr Roszell, PhD, MSN, RN-BC, 106 Pine Lane, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 (Sheila.Roszell@unchealth.unc.edu).
Support for this article was provided by Becton Dickinson.