1. Hadaway, Lynn MEd, RN, NPD-BC, CRNI(R)
  2. Mermel, Leonard A. DO, ScM, AM (Hon), FSHEA, FIDSA, FACP


In the past 30 years, midline catheter use has grown rapidly. For several reasons, many providers and facilities are attempting to reduce the number of central venous catheters and subsequent central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) by using midline catheters. Vessel preservation requires attention to all vascular access device (VAD)-associated complications and not only central line bloodstream infection. There is still much confusion about the appropriate tip location and the characteristics of fluids and medications that can safely be infused through a midline catheter residing in a peripheral vein. The Infusion Therapy Standards of Practice (the Standards) focuses on assessment of characteristics of infusion therapies that must be considered for VAD selection as an evidence-based list of fluids and medications for infusion through peripheral veins has yet to be established. This review of midline catheter studies evaluates the evidence regarding the substitution of a midline catheter for a central venous catheter. Many issues need to be addressed, such as studies that include an outcome list that mixes defined clinical complications (eg, thrombosis) with signs and symptoms of complications (eg, leaking). Another issue is basing a major change of clinical practice on retrospective chart reviews. Although a midline catheter may be appropriate for some patients, additional studies of a higher level of evidence are needed before this major practice change should occur.