Methodist Hospital Nurse Magnet award (copy)

Methodist Hospitals nurse Gay Wuerzburger checks a patient record in October.

John J. Watkins, Times file photo

Methodist Hospitals says it has lowered its infection rate by using a new kind of catheter.

The hospital system in Gary and Merrillville conducted a study finding zero bloodstream infections over 12 months with the use of a “midline” IV catheter called the POWERWAND.

“The absence of bloodstream infections associated with this particular midline is unprecedented,” stated Michelle DeVries, the hospitals’ senior infection control officer. "This is the only catheter-related study I’ve done in my 22 years in infection control where there has not been a single bloodstream infection."

DeVries recently presented results of the research at the Association for Vascular Access national conference. Methodist Hospitals’ vascular access research has taken top honors at the Association for Vascular Access national meeting for the last two years. Co-authors on the presentation were nurses Janice Lee and Kathleen Rickard, members of the hospital’s specialist nursing vascular access team.

Like a peripherally inserted central catheter, or PICC, a midline catheter is inserted into a large vein in the arm and gives clinicians a channel by which to provide the patient with medication and draw blood. Unlike a PICC, it does not extend all the way to the heart.

Intravenous catheters are used for blood draws and various types of medication delivery. American clinicians annually place several million IV catheters that travel through veins to the central venous system of the heart. Many of these are PICCS.

PICC lines are life-saving, but they can potentially lead to central line associated bloodstream infections. To address this patient safety issue, Methodist Hospitals looked to reduce potential overutilization of PICCs through the use of POWERWAND midline catheter.

“This study shows that by carefully choosing what fits the actual patient need, we can reduce the risk of infection, and that’s good for the patient and the entire health care system," stated Vincent Sevier, vice president and chief quality officer at Methodist Hospitals.

Data compiled since completion of the study has continued to show zero bloodstream infections for the POWERWAND over an additional 2,261 inpatient midline days during the first 10 months of 2017.

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