SwabCap Reported to Improve Patient Safety with Peripheral IV Catheters

Journal of Vascular Access (JAVA) Study Documents How Hospitals Can Do Better Maintenance of Peripheral and Central Lines

NEPTUNE, N.J.--()--Use of a disinfection cap can significantly improve patient safety and can better protect peripheral intravenous catheters (PIVs) as well as central venous catheters, according to a newly published study in the Journal of the Association for Vascular Access (JAVA).

The research at two Indiana hospitals documented how a hospital made substantial improvements in disinfection of both peripheral and central IV catheters.

“Hospitals that don’t understand the serious bloodstream infection risk posed by PIVs may put their patients’ health in peril,” said lead author Michelle DeVries, MPH, CIC. “Fortunately, the simple step of using a disinfection cap considerably improved disinfection and patient safety at our institution.” DeVries is a nationally recognized infection-control expert and Senior Infection Control Officer for Methodist Hospitals (Gary, Ind.), where the study was conducted.

During an earlier six-year span, Methodist Hospitals had achieved large reductions in central line-associated BSIs (CLABSIs).

However, Methodist’s infection rate associated with PIVs had remained high in that time. As DeVries noted, hospitals rarely make the same infection-prevention efforts with PIVs that they do with central catheters.

A practice audit revealed the possible source of Methodist’s problem: frequent variance from the standard protocol for manual disinfecting connector hubs (also known as ports or valves). Any variance from the several-step process can increase patients’ risk.

To address the issue, Methodist sought an engineered approach to hub disinfection that would compensate for lapses in nurses’ technique. After examining several devices and trialing two of them, the nurses selected SwabCap as their preferred option. SwabCap was applied to both PIVs and central lines.

Comparing the post-intervention period of December 2011-August 2013 to the pre-intervention span of September 2009-May 2011, the peer-reviewed journal article reported the following improvement in disinfection:

* Peripheral IVs: 43% drop in infections;

* Central lines: 50% drop in infections;

* Overall (PIVs plus central lines): 45% drop in infections.

The central line and overall reductions were statistically significant, the JAVA article said.

The study also examined why PIV infection risk may be under recognized. The overall infection rate with PIVs is considerably less than for a central line. Because far more PIVs are placed than central lines, however, the aggregate risk of the two types of lines may actually be similar.

“Variance in hub disinfection is commonplace, and the per-line cost of addressing it with a disinfection cap is minor, especially when you compare that to the five-figure cost of treating bloodstream infections,” said DeVries. “Our study showed that a disinfection cap is a simple, obvious way to improve patient safety with both PIVs and central lines.”

The article was co-authored by Patricia S. Mancos, BS, SM(ASCP), CIC and Mary J. Valentine, MSN, RN, CNS, OCN. Both are employed by Methodist Hospitals, Mancos as an infection control officer and Valentine as Director Nursing Professional Development.



* Author Marc-Oliver Wright, Corporate Director of Infection Control for NorthShore University Health System, discusses his study of SwabCap use published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

* Catherine Johnson, Education and Professional Development Specialist at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, explains how SwabCap addressed non-compliance with the hospital’s connector disinfection protocol.


* Full text of American Journal of Infection Control article.

About Excelsior Medical Corp.

Excelsior Medical Corporation is a privately held medical device company with a primary focus on innovative catheter maintenance products that improve disinfection and may reduce medication errors and healthcare costs. The company manufactures and sells SwabCap and SwabFlush for the disinfection and protection of IV needleless connectors. Formed in 1989, Excelsior also manufactures and sells prefilled saline flush syringes, prefilled heparin flush and lock syringes, and syringe pump systems.

For more information, call 800-487-4276 or access www.excelsiormedical.com.


Dowling & Dennis Public Relations
Liz Dowling, 415-388-2794

Release Summary

Use of a disinfection cap can significantly improve patient safety and can better protect PIVs as well as central venous catheters, according to a newly published study in JAVA.


Dowling & Dennis Public Relations
Liz Dowling, 415-388-2794