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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