Date of Award

Fall 1995

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Hennessey, Jean

Second Advisor

Brown, Ardene

Third Advisor

Kachoyeanos, Mary

Abstract

The question whether normal saline is as effective as heparin for maintaining patency of adult peripheral intravenous lines (IV) has been extensively reviewed and researched in recent years. Presently heparin solution may be a risk to the patient because of drug incompatibilities and the possibility of a adverse drug reaction. This study provides an opportunity to increase quality care for infants while meeting their health care needs. Many adult hospitals use normal saline for capping peripheral IV's as their standard practice. However, as with many aspects of care it cannot be assumed that this information was immediately transferable to children. The purpose of this study is to compare normal saline versus heparin solution to maintain patency of capped peripheral IVs in infants less than one year of age, including premature infants, with a 24 gauge angio catheter. The research questions were: 1.) Is there a difference in length of duration between peripheral IVs that were capped with normal saline versus heparin in infants? 2.) Is there a difference between IV's capped with normal saline versus heparin in the incidence of phlebitis, clotting or infiltration? 3.) Is there a differential effect of site of IV, patient weight, types of medications, blood/blood product administration, and/or size of catheter on the duration of patency between IVs capped with normal saline versus heparin? and 4). Is there a difference in the cost of medication between the heparin versus normal saline groups? The subjects of this study were thirty one preterm and full term infants. This is an experimental blinded study. Infants were randomly assigned to one of the two groups: A.) normal saline or B.) heparin 10 units/ml. The IV was capped every 8 hours and more often if medically indicated. Length of patency was compared between the two study groups using a 2-way co-variance. A Pearson chi-square analysis compared the differences in clotting, infiltration or the incidence and measurement of phlebitis between the two groups. Cross tabulations and frequency distributions were used to examine the variable of patient weight, type of medication or blood product infused and the size and site placement of the catheter. The following hypotheses were supported: (1.) There is no difference between the longevity of the peripheral IV line between lines that were capped with normal saline versus heparin; (2.) There is no difference between IV's capped with normal saline versus heparin in: clotting, infiltration or the incidence and 1 measurement of phlebitis; (3.) There is no differential effect on the site of IV, patient weight, type of medication, number of irrigations on the period of patency between those receiving normal saline versus those receiving heparin; (4.) There is no difference in the cost of the two solutions used for capping.

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