Nurses noted that the rate of phlebitis was high when intravenous amiodarone was infused via a peripheral site. Hospital policy recommends a central vascular catheter, but this method is often not feasible because the drug is administered in emergent situations for short periods.
To determine the rate and severity of phlebitis in patients given peripherally infused amiodarone.
The literature, policy, and procedures for administration of amiodarone were reviewed; the pharmacy was consulted; and a data collection tool was developed. The tool was pilot tested and revised, and face validation was established. Data were collected during a 6-month period. A convenience sample was used.
The study included a total of 12 patients. Each new infusion of intravenous amiodarone was considered a separate occurrence, for a total of 24 infusions. Various grades of phlebitis developed in 8 patients (67%). Phlebitis developed at 12 of the 24 infusion sites (50%).
Patients receiving peripherally infused amiodarone are at high risk for phlebitis. This complication may lead to infection, additional medical intervention, delay in treatment, and prolonged hospitalization.