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Background: Two kinds of needles used for peripheral (scalp) intravenous therapy in newborns ; the
steel needle and the intravenous catheter (a plastic needle). Most nurses prefer using intravenous
catheters because they believe that the in situ duration is better than steel needles. However, many studies
indicate intravenous catheters have a higher phlebitic rate and cost more than steel needles.
Objective: To compare the in situ duration, phlebitic rate and needle cost per day of peripheral (scalp)
Intravenous therapy in newborns using steel needles vs. intravenous catheters.
Design: Quasi-experimental research.
Setting: Neonatal unit (Ward 2C), Srinagarind Hospital, Khon Kaen University.
Intervention: Between September 1999 and August 2000, neonates requiring scalp intravenous injections
were randomly assigned to receive it via a steel needle (n = 51) or an intravenous catheter (n = 47).
Measurements: In situ duration, phlebitic rate and daily needle cost.
Results: No significant difference was found in the in situ duration and phlebitic rate of the steel needle
vs. the intravenous catheter on the scalp of newborns. The daily needle cost of steel needles was
significantly lower than intravenous catheters (P<0.001).
Conclusion: The steel needle on the scalp of newborns is as effective as the intravenous catheter in
maintaining in situ duration and preventing phlebitis. However, the difference in the daily needle cost indicates that the use of steel needles should be recommended.
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