Q Are there guidelines for use of the introducers heath as a venous access route after the pulmonary artery catheter has been removed? This procedure appears to be common practice, yet no clear guidelines seem to exist for this use. Also, are there any special risks involved in this practice?

A Gloria Oblouk Darovic, rn, ccrn, replies: ______

The practice of leaving the introducer sheath as a venous access route following removal of the pulmonary artery catheter has been widespread since the 1980s. Unfortunately, this practice is associated with an increased risk for the occurrence of potentially life-threatening complications, particularly if the patient is transferred out of an intensively monitored unit with the sheath in place. Therefore, manufacturers of introducer systems discourage the use of the introducer as a venous access route and instead recommend its removal along with the cardiac catheter or shortly thereafter. A review of the...

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