Researchers in Australia, funded by the Emergency Medicine Foundation (EMF) and Queensland Health, have discovered that medical glue is the clue to intravenous (IV) drips.
The researchers say that using medical skin glue to hold IV in place significantly decreases the need to replace because of infection, pain, blockage or failing out.
Caboolture Hospital Emergency physician and lead researcher Simon Bugden noted that the failure rates of IV lines in the first 48 hours ranges between 29% to 40% in Australia and as high as 90% around the world.
By using medical skin glue, percentage could be brought down to below 17, according to the research. The glue worked by making the IV line harder to be removed unintentionally and on top of that it killed infection causing bacteria.
Another benefit of using the glue was patient comfort. Patients reportedly found that the presence of glue made it more comfortable and they were less worried about the lines falling out.
Bugden said: “Doctors place more than 10 million IV lines in Australia each year – and more than 300 million in the US – so reducing the need to replace IV lines will save staff time and free up valuable healthcare resources.”
The research has been running at Caboolture Hospital in Queensland for several months now. At present, a cost-benefit analysis about the research is being conducted by health economists at Griffith University with a view to roll out new procedure on a wide scale.
EMF Chair Associate Professor Sally McCarthy noted that the discovery is an example of healthcare benefits can be achieved by funding research on frontline emergency medicine.
Sally McCarthy said: “There has been no improvement to the current procedure of inserting and securing IV lines in several decades, despite the rate of failure.
“Dr Bugden’s method could be simply and cost-effectively introduced in hospitals worldwide. EMF is committed to ensuring Australia continues to stay at the forefront of emergency medicine care by funding to dedicated research in this field.”
Photo: Dr Simon Bugden applying medical glue to a patient’s IV line. Image courtesy Caboolture Hospital.