It is officially flu season in the Northern Hemisphere. In the US alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that influenza (or flu) has caused between 140,000–810,000 hospitalizations annually since 2010. On top of that, COVID-19 cases are surging once again. To help hospitals battle flu season and the uptick in COVID-19 cases, Merit Medical provides the products they need to care for these vulnerable patients in the intensive care unit (ICU).

CENTRAL VENOUS CATHETERS IN CRITICAL CARE

A central venous catheter (CVC), otherwise known as a central line, is commonly placed in a large vein in the neck, chest, arm, or groin to perform quick medical tests or to administer medication, fluids, or blood products. CVCs are an option for patients in the ICU, as they can remain for longer periods of time than standard intravenous (IV) accesses, providing access for those who may be receiving treatment several times each day.

“Often times CVCs are used with critically ill patients because access to viable peripheral veins is compromised,” explains Stephanie Olsen, RN, Director of Global Marketing at Merit Medical. “CVCs are more stable and durable. Where standard peripheral IVs are required to be changed every 72 hours—and may not remain patent as long as a central line access will—Merit CVCs don’t need to be changed out as often, lasting up to 29 days.”

Merit Medical Product Picks

Secalon-T Central Venous Catheter - Merit Medical - Critical Care Products

Secalon-T™

Key Features & Benefits

  • Designed for high-flow rate infusions
  • PTFE or FEP material construction with Floswitch®—ideal for rapid short-term insertion into central veins or large peripheral vessels
  • Available in a kit with pre-puncture stylus and stabilizing wing
Careflow™ - Central Venous Catheter - Merit Medical - ICU Products

Careflow™ Central Venous Catheters

Key Features & Benefits

  • Designed for catheterization via the Seldinger technique
  • Tapered atraumatic tip designed to improve catheter insertion and reduce the risk of venous damage
  • Streamlined junction hub enables ease of catheter suture and comfortable positioning on patient’s skin

PRESSURE INFUSOR BAGS IN THE ICU

Pressure infusor bags are a valuable solution for injured or critically ill patients who require rapid administration of fluids or blood products. Pressurized bags also prevent the backflow of fluid into the catheters and tubing during treatment or procedures.

“Pressurized bags ensure patients receive the rapid treatment they need while also freeing up the nursing staff’s valuable time, as manually squeezing a bag is not necessary when using a pressure infusor bag,” Olsen says.

Merit Medical Product Pick

Pressure Infusor Bag - Merit Medical

Pressure Infusor Bag™

Key Features & Benefits

  • Dual-pressure safety valve switches between normal and over-pressure mode with a click of a button
  • Pressurization and deflation can be achieved with one hand
  • Blunt hook will not puncture the fluid bag and is secure in the event of pressure loss

FLUID ADMINISTRATION TUBING IN CRITICAL CARE

Adequate fluid administration is necessary for patients to receive the medications and fluids they need while in the ICU. Merit Medical’s fluid management products are designed to effectively manage fluid levels of critically ill patients. Merit Medical tubing, in particular, is available in longer lengths, which can help reduce the risk of exposure between patient and nursing staff as well as conserve personal protective equipment (PPE).

“To reduce the risk of exposure, hospitals are adding extension tubing to the pump’s primary administration set and then running it under the door into the hallway. This helps to decrease the amount of exposure a frontline healthcare worker has when repeatedly entering a patient’s room to manage infusions,” Olsen explains. “Merit’s fluid administration systems are available with tubing up to 108 inches, or 274 centimeters, which have helped decrease proximity of patients and staff.”

Merit Medical Product Pick

Merit Medical High Pressure Tubing - Fluid Administration In Critical Care

Merit Fluid Administration Tubing

Key Features & Benefits

  • Available in longer lengths
  • Offered in three material configurations (highly flexible polyurethane to clear PVC)
  • Provides both a fixed male connector and rotating adapter connector

LABELING SYSTEMS IN THE ICU

Patients in the ICU with COVID-19 or flu may require extensive tubing, such as IV and auxiliary lines, to help them recover. Keeping critical care lines accurately labeled is crucial for patient safety.

“Having tools in place that organize patient lines can help clinicians easily identify which fluid line is responsible for what,” Olsen says. “Merit offers Critical Care Label Sets, a labeling system created in response to a customer’s request to help manage multiple IV lines when caring for patients with COVID-19.”

Color-coded with large, legible print, Merit’s Critical Care Label Sets (CCLS) provide a convenient and safe identification system for IV lines, which can help determine each line’s purpose accurately and efficiently, reducing the potential for medication errors.

Merit Medical Product Pick

Critical Care Label Set - Merit Medical - ICU Products

CCLS

Key Features & Benefits

  • Streamlines medication labeling
  • Designed to stick when wet
  • Comes with a sterile, fine-point PAL™ pen that is smear resistant

INFECTION PREVENTION SYSTEMS IN CRITICAL CARE

According to the CDC, on any given day, about one in 31 patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection (HAI).

“With the number of COVID-19 cases in the ICU rising, infection prevention—and protecting all lines—is critical now more than ever,” Olsen explains.

To provide effective infection prevention, Merit Medical offers the DualCap® Disinfection & Protection System, a uniquely designed disinfecting cap system for use on both the male luer connector at the end of the IV tubing and the needle-free valve.

Invented by two infusion nurses, the DualCap System helps to prevent intraluminal contamination as well as device cross-contamination, which is especially important for IV catheter use over extended dwell times.1 The DualCap System can be used on all lines—both central and peripheral—disinfecting the male luer connector and the needle-free valve in 30 seconds, providing a physical barrier to contamination for up to 7 days if not removed.2

Merit Medical Product Pick

DualCap System - Infection Prevention for Critical Care and ICUs - Merit Medical

DualCap Disinfection & Protection System

Key Features & Benefits

  • Easy-to-grasp caps with a hold-and-twist tapered design that fits securely
  • Both caps contain medical-grade sponges saturated with 70% isopropyl alcohol (IPA)
  • Only male luer cap that blocks 70% IPA from entering patient’s bloodstream with a sealing cone that prevents it from entering the fluid path3

You can also explore virtual training tools that can help you in-service your teams with step-by-step instructions—all available when you need them.

When treating vulnerable patients, every product you use matters. During this challenging time, nothing is more important to Merit Medical than the health and safety of customers and their patients.

Visit our Critical Care Products and Solutions page to explore the many ways we help clinicians provide treatment that is safe, effective, and efficient.

REFERENCES

  1. Mermel LA, “What Is the Predominant Source of Intravascular Catheter Infections?” Clin Infect Dis 52, no. 2 (2011): 211 ̶ 212. PMID: 21288845.
  2. DualCap IV Pole Strips® Instructions for Use, 2016. Catheter Connections, Inc.
  3. Avomeen Analytic Services. Testing Report Prepared for Catheter Connections. October 2013.