Methodist Hospitals Improves Patient Safety with IV Disinfection Cap - February 16, 2015

Groundbreaking Study Shows Infections Greatly Reduced in IV Catheters was published in the Journal of the Association for Vascular Access (Java)

GARY, Ind. – A new study reports that Methodist Hospitals has substantially improved patient safety by reducing potentially dangerous bloodstream infections.

The study reported on the addition of a disinfection cap that has helped make intravenous (IV) therapy even safer for Methodist patients. The cap protects IV catheters from bacterial contamination when nurses deliver medications and other fluids through a patient’s IV line.

It is standard medical practice for hospital nurses to disinfect the connector hub before delivering fluids, to help prevent bacteria from entering the IV line. Nurses do this by wiping the hub with isopropyl alcohol (IPA). But there is still a risk that an infection can occur, and catheter-related bloodstream infections can sometimes be fatal.

To greatly reduce this danger, Methodist Hospitals added an extra layer of protection to its IV lines in 2011, by requiring the use of an orange-colored disinfection cap called SwabCap. A disinfection cap is a small device that twists on to the external hub of an intravenous connector. IV connectors are used to link catheters and other devices that deliver intravenous fluids such as medications, nutrition and blood products.

The new study was published in the Summer 2014 issue of the Journal of the Association for Vascular Access (JAVA). The lead researcher and author was Michelle DeVries, MPH, CIC, who is the Senior Infection Control Officer at Methodist Hospitals. Co-authors were Patricia S. Mancos, BS, SM (ASCP), CIC and Mary J. Valentine, MSN, RN, CNS, OCN. Mancos is an infection control officer at Methodist Hospitals, and Valentine is Methodist’s Director of Nursing Professional Development.

The innovative study led by DeVries investigated both central IV lines — which are threaded into the heart to deliver lifesaving medication and other fluids – and peripheral IVs, which are inserted into a vein in the arm. Much of the existing research on this topic focused only on central line infections.

Methodist Hospitals places the cap on both central and peripheral IVs. Most other hospitals using this device only require it for central IV lines. But PIVs are also subject to bloodstream infections, and hospitals place far more PIVs than central lines. “We began using a disinfection cap because we didn’t feel the usual disinfection technique offered sufficient protection for our patients,” DeVries said. “This study shows that the effort to improve patient safety and reduce infections was very successful.”

The research compared a 21-month period after cap use began at Methodist to the 21-month period before the cap was used. The study showed that substantial improvements in patient safety occurred after Methodist started requiring nurses to use the cap:

* 43% drop in infections for patients with peripheral IVs (PIVs)

* 50% drop in infections for patients with central IV lines

* 45% overall drop in infections overall (patients with PIVs plus patients with central lines)

Dr. Michael Davenport, President and Interim CEO at Methodist, says, “Using a disinfection cap is consistent with our pledge to provide the highest level of care at Methodist Hospitals,” he said. “This groundbreaking research shows that disinfection caps are a valuable addition that improves patient safety with both central and peripheral IVs.”

About Methodist Hospitals

Methodist Hospitals is a community-based, not-for-profit health system with two full-service acute care facilities in Gary and Merrillville, Indiana, that has been leading the way to better health for residents of Northwest Indiana for almost 100 years. Methodist Hospitals offers a number of award – winning programs, including its Neuroscience, Oncology, Heart and Vascular Institutes and Breast Care Center. Its range of services also includes Bariatric Surgery services, Emergency & Trauma services, Orthopedics & Spine Centers, comprehensive Rehabilitation services, Behavioral Health and Home Health Services.

About Excelsior Medical Corp

The SwabCap disinfection device used at Methodist is made by Excelsior Medical, an American medical device company with a primary focus on catheter maintenance products that improve disinfection. When the disinfection cap is twisted onto the connector hub, an IPA-containing sponge inside the cap dispenses alcohol over the threads and hub, and keeps them bathed in infection-fighting alcohol. The cap also protects against contamination from touch and airborne sources.

Excelsior Medical Corporation is a privately held medical device company with a primary focus on innovative catheter maintenance products that improve disinfection and may reduce medication errors and healthcare costs. The company manufactures and sells SwabCap and SwabFlush for the disinfection and protection of IV needleless connectors. Formed in 1989, Excelsior also manufactures and sells prefilled saline flush syringes, prefilled heparin flush and lock syringes, and syringe pump systems.