Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority analysts received an inquiry asking about the type of events that occurred with the use of intraosseous (IO) vascular access catheters and whether events might be related to patient age. IO line access is a method of delivering fluids when a peripheral intravenous (IV) line or central line cannot be obtained in a timely manner, and patient morbidity or mortality is possible. IO line access was first used in animals in 1922. Patient use in a clinical setting was noted in the early 1940s. IO access is obtained by inserting a needle through the bone (e.g., proximal tibia, humerus; see Figure 1) and are generally removed within 24 hours. The bone provides a non-collapsible cavity to instill fluids and medications, which are absorbed at a similar rate to absorption via peripheral IV lines.
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