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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Efficacy and safety of a two-step method of skin preparation for peripheral intravenous catheter insertion: a prospective multi-centre randomised trial

Nathalie L van der Mee-Marquet* and the Bloodstream infection Study Group of the Relais Régional d'Hygiène Hospitalière du Centre

Author Affiliations

Service de Bactériologie et d'Hygiène, Hôpital Trousseau, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, 37044 Tours, France

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BMC Anesthesiology 2007, 7:1  doi:10.1186/1471-2253-7-1

Published: 31 January 2007


We have developed a two-step procedure for preparing the skin before peripheral venous catheter (PVC) insertions. This procedure involves two successive swabbings with wipes soaked in alcoholic antiseptic. We investigated whether this two-step procedure was as effective and safe as the standard four-step procedure – washing with detergent, rinsing, drying, applying antiseptic – by carrying out a multicentre randomised equivalence study comparing the frequency of precursor signs of infection at the site of insertion for the two skin preparation procedures. The study was carried out over an eight-month period, and 248 PVC insertion sites were evaluated. The two-step procedure was used for 130 subjects and the standard procedure for 118. Taking into account all the confounding factors predisposing patients to the complications studied, the characteristics of the two groups of patients were found to be similar, with no significant differences noted. The incidence of precursor signs of infection was 11 % 24 hours after PVC insertion (27/248), 25 % at 48 hours (50/203) and at 29 % at 72 hours (34/119). Eleven patients had complications necessitating the withdrawal of the PVC: sensitivity of the insertion site, with redness and/or slight swelling and/or a palpable venous cord. No major complications were observed in this study. The frequency of local complications associated with PVCs reported in this study, whether simple or severe, was not affected by the skin preparation procedure used for PVC insertion (two-step or four-step procedure).