AIMS: Peripheral cannulas in newborns are commonly used for intravenous treatment. However sustained maintenance of cannula patency is often difficult to achieve in this age group. This study compares the duration for which cannula patency can be maintained in newborns under continuous infusion, or an intermittent flushing regimen, with normal saline.
METHODS: A prospective observational study was conducted during a 12-month period. All newborns admitted to the 16-bed intermediate care unit, who required intravenous treatment, received either continuous peripheral infusion with 0.9% saline at an infusion rate of 2 mL/h or an intravenous cannula, which was flushed with 1 mL of 0.9% saline at least once every 24 h.
RESULTS: A total of 53 patients with 86 cannulas were included. Twenty-five (47%) patients received 41 continuous infusions. The intermittent flushing group consisted of 28 (53%) patients with 45 cannulas administered. The cannula patency was significantly longer in the intermittent flushing group (mean 62.1 vs. 92.8 h, P=0.01). The patient's underlying disease and the cannula insertion site were not related with the duration of the cannula patency.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows that intermittent cannula flushing is associated with improved cannula patency for peripherally inserted venous catheters in newborns.