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Peripheral line dead space: an unrecognised phenomenon?
  1. Dave Geggie,
  2. Deborah Moore
  1. Emergency Medicine, Warrington General Hospital, Cheshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr David Geggie
 A&E Department, Warrington General Hospital, Lovely Lane, Warrington, Cheshire, WA5 1QG, UK; david.geggie{at}


Objective: To determine if peripheral intravenous cannula dead space is taken into account when setting up intravenous infusions (in particular nitrate infusions) in the emergency department.

Method: A postal survey of UK emergency departments.

Results: Of the 143 (58%) of UK departments who responded, only 15% reported priming the cannula before commencing the nitrate infusion.

Conclusions: Knowledge of peripheral intravenous cannula dead space in UK emergency departments is very poor and, as a result, there is probably significant widespread under treatment of patients in severe cardiogenic pulmonary oedema. Departments should amend their treatment guidelines to take account of peripheral cannula dead space

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  • Conflict of interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare. They have received no funding from Becton Dickinson Ltd

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