Nurses at Risk of Blood Exposure During Catheter Insertion, Removal

About one in two nurses experience blood exposure at least once a month when inserting a peripheral intravenous catheter, according to a new study by the International Healthcare Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia.

Healthcare workers place more than 300 million short peripheral intravenous catheters every year. For this study, researchers looked at the practices of 379 nurses nationwide who place IV catheters and found they are at risk of exposure to blood pathogens in 128 of 100,000 IV catheter insertions. Comparatively, nurses are at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens from a needlestick injury in 6.6 of 100,000 devices.


Results from the study also showed many exposures from IV insertions are not reported. Of the total mucous membrane exposures sustained by respondents in this study, 69 percent were not reported. In comparison, the CDC's underreporting rate for sharps injuries is 57 percent. In addition, nine in 10 of those nurses who did not report the incident said they did not think the exposure was significant enough to report.

"The use of safety IV catheters has helped reduce needlestick exposures. This study demonstrates the need to consider technology and precautions to reduce the risk of all sources of blood exposure," said Janine Jagger, PhD, MPH, lead author of the study and director of International Healthcare Workers Safety Center at the University of Virginia.

Related Articles on Healthcare Safety:

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