Prevention of peripheral intravenous catheter-related bloodstream infections: the need for a new focus

Claire M Rickard, Joan Webster and E Geoffrey Playford
Med J Aust 2013; 198 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/mja13.10428
Published online: 3 June 2013

Careful insertion and maintenance technique on every occasion is important — not routine replacement

Intravascular access device-related bloodstream infections, including Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemias (SABs), cause substantial clinical harm and waste scarce health care resources. And yet, many, if not most, are preventable. We are belatedly realising that to eliminate these complications we must conduct research, implement evidence-based interventions and reduce the clinical practice variation that leads to their occurrence. Public reporting and the financial disincentives associated with apparent poor performance are also pulling us along this path. In this issue of the Journal, Stuart and colleagues provide yet another wake-up call by describing a case series of 137 peripheral intravenous catheter (PIVC)-associated SABs.1 They highlight some important failings in our processes for managing PIVCs that allow devastating complications to occur and which require our urgent attention.

  • Claire M Rickard1,3,2,4
  • Joan Webster2,1,3
  • E Geoffrey Playford4,5

  • 1 NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Nursing Interventions for Hospitalised Patients, Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 2 Research and Development Unit, Centre for Clinical Nursing, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 3 School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 4 Princess Alexandra Hospital, Metro South Health, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 5 University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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