Obesity is not associated with increased difficulty placing peripheral IVs in trauma activation patients



      Previous studies have identified obesity as a risk factor for difficult IV access, but this has not been studied in the acute trauma setting. The primary objective was to determine if obesity is associated with increased difficulty placing peripheral IVs in trauma patients. Secondary analysis evaluated IV difficulty and associations with nursing self-competence ratings, trauma experience, and patient demographics.


      Prospective, observational study at academic level I trauma center with 58,000 annual visits. Trauma activation patients between January and October of 2016 were included. Each nurse who attempted IV placement, completed anonymous 7 question survey, including trauma experience (years), self-competence and IV difficulty (Likert scales 1–5), and attempts. Demographic and clinical information was retrospectively collected from the EMR and nursing surveys. Descriptive statistics, chi-square tests, and spearman correlations were used.


      200 patients included in the study with 185 BMI calculations. 110 overweight (BMI > 25) and 48 obese (BMI > 30). 70 (35%) female, 149 (75%) white, average age 48. Increased BMI and IV difficulty displayed spearman correlation (ρ) of 0.026 (P = 0.72) suggesting against significant association. Increased trauma experience and self-competence ratings significantly correlated with decreased IV difficulty, ρ = −0.173 and −0.162 (P = 0.010 and 0.014). There was no statistically significant association with IV difficulty in regards to patient race, age, sex, or location of IV placement.


      Obesity was not associated with increased difficulty in placing peripheral IVs in trauma activation patients. Nurses with greater trauma experience and higher self-competence ratings, had less difficulty inserting IVs.


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