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A prospective study was conducted to compare the performance of a nonconventional short peripheral catheter made of elastomeric hydrogel material with that of the conventional short peripheral catheters used to administer intravenous therapy to patients before this study was undertaken. The catheters were inserted in home care patients, primarily diagnosed with
Lyme disease, for the delivery of I.V. antibiotic therapy. The study results showed that the institutional 48-to-72-hour removal policy for conventional catheters is not practical for the elastomeric hydrogel test catheter. However, this policy indeed appears appropriate for conventional catheters because one half (50%) of the control catheters in this study and in other published studies failed within 72 hours compared with only 19% of the test catheters. This demonstrates that catheter material significantly affects catheter performance because the nonconventional catheters could be kept in place more than twice as long before causing the complication rates seen with the conventional control catheters at 3 days of dwell.