NIC: The Non-Injectable Arterial Connector
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The Non-Injectable Connector (NIC), developed in Kings Lynn Hospital, helps avoid complications associated with arterial lines by preventing bacterial contamination, blood spillage and accidental administration of medication into the artery.
Arterial lines are used in the ICU to accurately measure blood pressure on a second by second basis. However, these lines are associated with complications highlighted by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) Rapid Response Alert (2008): bacterial contamination, blood spillage and, due to confusion with venous lines, accidental administration of medication into the artery instead of the vein.
The Non-Injectable Connector (NIC) makes arterial lines and blood sampling techniques safer. Its origins lie in a local ‘fix’: a consultant at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn started wrapping tape around the arterial sampling port to reduce the risk of the junior doctors accidentally giving medication into this line.
The NIC has received regulatory approval, and local trials in 11 hospitals in the East of England have established its effectiveness – while also providing evidence of its ease of use for clinical staff. Currently used in 14 hospitals, the NIC has been accepted for the innovation accelerator programme and has won the National Patient Safety Award.