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National survey of umbilical venous catheterisation practices in the wake of two deaths
  1. Clare Hollingsworth1,
  2. Paul Clarke2,
  3. Alok Sharma1,
  4. Michele Upton3
  1. 1 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
  2. 2 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Norwich, UK
  3. 3 Patient Safety Lead, Maternity and Newborn, Patient Safety Domain 5, NHS England, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Michele Upton, Patient Safety Lead, Maternity and Newborn, Patient Safety Domain 5, NHS England, Skipton House Area 6C, 80 London Road, London, SE1 6LH, UK; michele.upton{at}

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Umbilical venous catheter (UVC) insertion is a common invasive procedure. Multiple complications associated with UVCs are described,1 though their relative incidence is unknown. In 2013, 8746 UVCs were inserted in 164 English neonatal intensive care units comprising a total of 37 100 line days (NDAU, unpublished data).

In 2014, two deaths related to UVC extravasation were notified to the British Association of Perinatal Medicine (BAPM) and the National Health Service (NHS) National Reporting and Learning System. Both involved parenteral nutrition (PN) infusion via low-lying UVCs, that is, catheter tips located below the position presently considered ideal (the inferior vena cava–right atrial junction, approximately T8-9 level).1 These cases prompted the present survey.

We designed a web-based survey to determine current practices relating …

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  • Contributors PC conceived the idea for the study and designed the questionnaire with MU and AS. MU conducted the survey. All authors analysed the data, contributed to manuscript drafting and approve the final version. MU is guarantor.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.