Catheters with magnetized tip linked to severe allergic reactions

Use of peripherally inserted central catheters that use a magnetized tip can result in serious allergic reactions in patients, according to a study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

Peripherally inserted central catheters are intravenous therapy lines inserted via a small vein in the upper arm and into the chest to administer medications directly.

Researchers in Canada conducted a study at four hospitals. Two used peripherally inserted central catheters with a magnetized tip that helps guide insertion, and the other two hospitals used catheters that did not have the magnetized tip.

In a four-year study period, researchers found that among 8,257 insertions at the two hospitals that used the magnetized tip catheters, there were 37 anaphylactic and anaphylactoid reactions. However, among 8,380 insertions at the two hospitals that used the catheters without the magnetized tip, there were no allergic reactions.

More than half of the allergic reactions were in patients with documented drug and environmental allergies.

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