Evaluation of the safety of a novel peripheral vasopressor pilot program and the impact on central line placement in medical and surgical intensive care units

Document Type


Publication Date



Critical Care Medicine

Journal Title

American journal of health-system pharmacy : AJHP : official journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists


DISCLAIMER: In an effort to expedite the publication of articles related to the COVID-19 pandemic, AJHP is posting these manuscripts online as soon as possible after acceptance. Accepted manuscripts have been peer-reviewed and copyedited, but are posted online before technical formatting and author proofing. These manuscripts are not the final version of record and will be replaced with the final article (formatted per AJHP style and proofed by the authors) at a later time. PURPOSE: The purpose of this quality improvement project was to evaluate the safety and feasibility of peripheral vasopressor administration in an attempt to minimize the placement and improve early removal of unnecessary central lines to reduce central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) rates. METHODS: A retrospective chart review was conducted on patients who received vasopressors via peripheral infusion over 3 months, starting at the time of guideline implementation. RESULTS: We identified 129 vasopressor orders among 79 patients that were administered peripherally. Among these orders, 3 events were documented as possible extravasation events. Forty-five patients (57%) did not require central line placement due to increasing vasopressor requirements. Standard utilization ratio data suggest minimal central line impact of the protocol implementation. December 2020 to February 2021 was associated with a large second peak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in our region. Utilization of central lines was less than predicted in December 2020 to February 2021 in 2 of our 3 intensive care units (ICUs); however, the differences were statistically significant on only 3 occasions. In the third ICU, utilization was greater than predicted, but this unit housed a majority of the most critically ill patients with COVID-19. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that short-term use of select vasopressors at conservative doses is safe for peripheral administration and points toward efficacy at preventing central line placement. Further analysis is required to confirm efficacy.