A peripheral intravenous catheter (PIV) is a small, flexible tube placed into a peripheral vein for the administration of intravenous, fluids, medications, or blood and despite their common use, there are severe consequences that can result.
PIVs were first introduced into modern healthcare in 1950 when a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) catheter was fitted over the top of a needle and attached to a metal hub via a crimp band. The tip of the catheter was hardened and shrunk to fit the needle, using ethyl acetate which deplasticized the PVC. This resulted in the first ‘over-the-needle’ PIV catheter. In 70 years, only iterative advancements have occurred in PIV design, including improved materials, enhance usability, and additional features focusing on needle stick injury prevention. The over-the-needle design has remained fundamentally unchanged.
PIVs have become an integral tool in healthcare. In fact, there are 435M PIVs sold in the U.S. and an estimated 200MM PIVs placed (based on the mean number of placements attempts of 2.18). Studies indicate that PIVs are placed in up to 70 - 90% of hospitalized patients. Though commonplace and generally safe, they do come with patient risks, including infection, phlebitis, and infiltration, as well as clinician related needle stick injuries. These complications burden the healthcare system with billions of dollars in avoidable treatment costs.