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Replacing venous catheters only when clinically indicated did not increase the risk of phlebitis compared with a routine replacement protocol, a randomized trial showed.

The two catheter-replacement strategies resulted in identical 7 percent rates of phlebitis. Secondary outcomes also did not differ between treatment groups, according to an article published in the Sept. 22 issue of The Lancet.

The two strategies proved clinically equivalent despite the fact that replacement on an as-needed basis increased the mean dwell time by more than a day, according to Claire M. Rickard, PhD, of Griffith University in Nathan, Australia, and co-authors.

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