Introduction: Establishing an effective midline program involves more than simply learning an insertion technique for a new product. Midline catheters provide a reliable vascular access option for those patients with difficult venous access who would otherwise require multiple venipunctures or the use of higher-risk central lines to maintain access. An effective midline program establishes a protocol for device selection and includes standing orders to facilitate speed to placement.
Methods: Our retrospective descriptive review evaluated the successful integration of midline programs into existing vascular access bedside insertion programs in 2 acute care hospitals. The investigator reviewed a convenience sample of hospital patients. Participants in the study included vascular access team managers and team members from the sample sites.
Results: The results of this 2-hospital study demonstrate successful integration of a midline program into a bedside insertion program with 0 midline-related infections since initiation. Documentation of overall central line-associated bloodstream infection rates for hospital 1 changed from 1.7/1000 catheter-days to 0.2/1000 catheter-days, reflecting a 78% reduction in infections and a projected cost avoidance of $531,570 annually. Both hospitals demonstrated reduced rates of infection following implementation of a midline program.
Conclusions: Midlines have a history of lower risk for both infection and thrombosis compared with central venous devices. Although more research is needed on the more recently developed midline catheters, available evidence suggests that midlines provide a safe and reliable form of vascular access, reducing costs and the risk of infection associated with central venous catheters, especially those placed solely for patients with difficult venous access.