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Catheter Care

We’ll take care of that.

Nobody likes a catheter. But if you have to have one, you want it to work. When bedside nurses in Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) noticed repeated incidences of catheter breakage, they took action.

Layla“The tiny catheters serve as a lifeline for these babies, providing needed medication and nutrition,” said Clinical Nurse Specialist Kimberly Sutters, who leads the Children’s pain management program and the PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) team. “A break in the line can interrupt therapy, require an emergency replacement, and create a risk for infection.”

In 2007, 12 percent of silicone PICCs in the NICU required repair, so Children’s switched products. Soon, however, nurses began reporting incidences of “leakage” from the new catheter's hub.

Rather than switch again, the team decided to work with the manufacturer to build a better PICC. Nurses, risk management staff, materials management and purchasing  professionals collaborated with the manufacturer, Medcomp, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to design a safer, more efficient catheter. In June 2009, Medcomp obtained FDA approval for the new neonatal PICC. Children’s debuted the redesigned product a month later. The Hospital has had zero incidents of PICC cracking since.

Success in the NICU drove Medcomp to improve products for bigger kids, too, and Children’s began using the larger pediatric catheters this year. 

The FDA, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, and Medical Product Safety Network recognized Children’s with a certificate for outstanding contribution to promoting patient safety with medical devices.

“This effort started with the bedside staff,” said Sutters. “They identified a problem, spoke up and we took action.”