Many clinicians know all too well that
healthcare-associated infections (HAI)
remain the primary cause of preventable
death among hospitalized patients.
From maintaining normothermia and
decolonizing nasal airways to ensuring
sterility of medical instruments and
effective patient skin preps, the
perioperative team focuses on a whole
host of different practices to help curb
surgical site infections (SSIs).
Yet, it’s important to remember that
SSIs aren’t the only type of infections
the perioperative team needs to worry
about. Other common HAI can occur
during the patient’s surgical journey
that could impact their quality of care
and surgical outcome.
For example, bloodstream
infections (BSI) stemming from
central or peripheral intravenous
catheters can be the result of poor
protocol compliance during placement
or improper ongoing catheter
maintenance while the patient is in the
care of the perioperative team. This
means a greater effort needs to be
made to reduce the risk of HAI more
holistically in the OR.
Every IV catheter poses an
infection risk. Achieving successful
infection prevention in the patient’s
perioperative journey must include
close attention to proper peripheral
intravenous catheters (PIV) and
diligent maintenance before removal.
The Peripheral Line
PIV are the most common vascular
access procedure performed in
strictly following industry guidelines
and best practices for placement and
maintenance of each IV access and
Barriers To PLABSI
A recent survey uncovered key
challenges that nurses and infection
preventionists (IP) throughout the care
continuum face in their fight to reduce
HAI in their facilities. The survey,
“Human Factors and the Future of
Infection Prevention,” found there
are a number of barriers that impact
successful infection prevention,
including a lack of adopting new
technology and processes (51
percent), lack of senior leadership
support (51 percent,) and poor
protocol compliance (50 percent).
The survey also uncovered that only
60 percent of IP surveyed are familiar
with their facility’s PLABSI prevention
protocols and procedures, yet 56
percent of all respondents believe that
PLABSI poses a real threat to patient
Although these findings are
alarming, they are not surprising.
Health systems are not required
to report PLABSIs even though,
according to the Infusion Nurses
Society (INS), 90 percent of
inpatients require an IV to administer
vital medications and fluids at some
point during their care.
Clearly, more education on the
importance of PIV care is needed.
By Pat Parks, MD, PhD, Medical Director, 3M Medical Solutions Division
Pat Parks, MD, PhD
3M Medical Solutions Division
When addressing HAI risk for the surgical patient,
don’t forget about PIV.
medicine with more than 200 million
patients receiving a peripheral line
each year. Despite the high frequency,
this routine step in the perioperative
journey can often be overlooked as a
potential infection risk.
Each PIV placed represents a
potential entry site for BSI or for
dislodgement, putting the patient’s
safety at risk.
bloodstream infections (PLABSI)
and IV dislodgement can largely
be prevented using a three-pronged approach: educating and
developing highly trained staff on the
importance of proper PIV insertion
and maintenance, implementing
evidence-based technology, and