Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust has found that 100% of IV leakage incidents were prevented by a proprietary patient monitoring system from ivWatch, which could potentially save patients the pain or discomfort of adverse IV events.

The initial two-week phase of the study, which was published in the British Journal of Nursing, found that continuous site monitoring using the ivWatch system was able to detect infiltration and extravasation events earlier than relying on intermittent visual observation alone. Additionally, detection occurred in 100 percent of IV infiltration events with the system, before a clinician could visually detect the event.

The study was extended to a second phase carried out in the IVAS (IV therapy and vascular access) infusion unit between August 2023 and January 2024. In total, 2,254 IVs were monitored using ivWatch’s SmartTouch sensor. Over the 3,507 hours of monitoring, the device issued 122 red Check IV notifications, demonstrating the tech’s ability to identify and prevent injuries in 5.4 percent of infusion activity.

Early identification of IV leakage means patients suffer little, if any, pain or discomfort and no or minimal extravasation injuries.

When applied to the skin near the site of the IV, the ivWatch sensor and monitor carry out over 18,000 checks per hour. If it determines any signs of any leakage of fluid outside of the vein it notifies healthcare workers in real-time, to help reduce the severity of adverse IV events.

The ivWatch technology uses a predictive algorithm and visible and near-infrared light to detect changes in the optical properties of the tissue around an IV site.

Study author Andrew Barton, NHS nurse consultant, IV therapy and vascular access at Frimley Health, and National Infusion and Vascular Access Society (NIVAS) chair, said: “All the patients who returned for multiple infusions during the two-week study requested the use of ivWatch.

“Their feedback was that the use of ivWatch made them feel more safe about receiving their infusion. The infusion nurses also felt reassured by the use of ivWatch, as it gave them peace of mind, too. One staff member said it was like having a second pair of eyes to monitor the infusion site.”