By Ryan MacArthur |

IV dislodgement is one of the key contributors towards IV failure along with phlebitis, infiltration and extravasation. It’s also one of the most preventable forms of IV failure. Here is how IV dislodgement occurs, complications that can arise and ways to prevent it.

How IV Dislodgement Occurs

Dislodgement takes place when a catheter becomes displaced or detached from the patient. This can happen due to tossing and turning during sleep, when a confused or disoriented patient intentionally pulls out their line, or during a transfer from one bed to another.

Complications of IV Dislodgement

The first step is replacing the catheter, which would require another IV line insertion. Some patients experience anxiety and some level of discomfort or pain during an IV insertion process.

Dislodgement means the patient is no longer receiving the medication or fluids necessary for their health and recovery. In serious cases of dislodgement, strong, heavy pulls on a catheter can lead to a potentially fatal air embolism. Learn more about air embolisms and how to prevent them here.

Preventative Measures

Healthcare providers typically secure catheters to the IV site with medical tape and a dressing. However, these can become loose and can also lead to dislodgement. For adult patients, being aware of their surroundings and refraining from making sudden, jerky movements can help reduce IV dislodgement.

Pediatric patients tend to move around and are naturally curious about what’s going on during their time in the hospital. For these reasons, securement devices are used to secure a child’s IV. Healthcare providers may also use a stockinette bandage to better secure the catheter.

Researchers estimate that dislodgement makes up as many as 17.5% of all IV failures. By limiting and even eliminating the occurrence of IV dislodgement, healthcare providers could potentially reduce IV failures each year, minimizing patient harm and the number of IV insertions necessary.



Image Source: Why Do IV Lines Fail? A Crazy Little Thing Called Dislodgement –

IV Dislodgement is a Common Problem in Vascular Access Clinicians Say –

Securing All Intravenous Devices Effectively in Hospitalised Patients –

Top 10 IV Insertion Tips for Pediatric Patients –

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