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Accepted but Unacceptable

Peripheral IV Catheter Failure

Helm, Robert E., MD; Klausner, Jeffrey D., MD, MPH; Klemperer, John D., MD; Flint, Lori M., BSN, RN, CCRN; Huang, Emily, BA

doi: 10.1097/NAN.0000000000000326
Features: Reprint

Peripheral intravenous (IV) catheter insertion, the most common invasive hospital procedure performed worldwide, is associated with a variety of complications and an unacceptably high overall failure rate of 35% to 50% in even the best of hands. Catheter failure is costly to patients, caregivers, and the health care system. Although advances have been made, analysis of the mechanisms underlying the persistent high rate of peripheral IV failure reveals opportunities for improvement.

Portsmouth Regional Hospital, Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Portsmouth, New Hampshire (Dr Helm); University of California, Division of Infectious Diseases, Los Angeles, California (Dr Klausner and Ms Huang); and Eastern Maine Medical Center, Division of Cardiovascular Surgery, Bangor, Maine (Dr Klemperer).

Robert E. Helm, MD, is a cardiothoracic surgeon in the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at the Portsmouth Regional Hospital in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Jeffrey D. Klausner, MD, MPH, is a professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of California, Los Angeles.

John D. Klemperer, MD, is a cardiothoracic surgeon in the Division of Cardiovascular Surgery at the Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine.

Lori M. Flint, BSN, RN, CCRN, is a critical care nurse.

Emily Huang, BA, is a research assistant in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Corresponding Author: Robert E. Helm, MD, P.O. Box 656, 215 South Road, Rye Beach, NH 03871 (

Robert E. Helm has been granted a patent for catheter-related devices, including catheters and dressing. The other authors of this article have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Reprinted from Helm RE, Klausner JD, Klemperer JD, Flint LM, Huang E. Accepted but unacceptable: peripheral IV catheter failure. J Infus Nurs. 2015; 38(3):189-203. DOI: 10.1097/NAN.0000000000000100

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