When would you use a longer IV cath?

  1. When would you use a longer IV cath? In our OR we have 1 1/4 inch ones and also 2 inch ones- it is so frustrating when you accidently grab a 2 inch one and try to thread it through. It seems to me a shorter cath would have less resistance- so when would you want a longer cath? Their must be a reason we stock both that I am missing. Can anyone tell me a situation when a longer cath would be beneficial?
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    About amberrn

    Joined: Feb '04; Posts: 13; Likes: 2


  3. by   sc17
    for one thing longer caths are easier for ej's and other veins which tend to roll around under the skin. You may have to travel farther under the skin before you actually enter the vein, thus a longer catheter helps you out.
  4. by   traumaRUs
    My first thought is the bariatric patient. I work in the ER and sometimes when you have someone who is 600 lbs or so, you need the extra length. I actually use a shorter (1 1/4) for the EJ route just so that I don't accidentally go where I shouldn't.
  5. by   athomas91
    i agree that for more "in depth" procedures a longer cath might be a better idea just due to anatomy.
    however - a shorter cath allows for less resistance and faster solution administration. so it really depends on your case and what your concerns are. a case where blood loss is anticipated or likely - a shorter cath is always a better option.
  6. by   EricTAMUCC-BSN
    I have no clue but I am going to take a stab in the dark anyways. First thought that comes to mind is those veins that blow so easily, could it help reinforce the vessel wall
  7. by   athomas91
    if it will blow with the invasion of a short cath - a long cath equals more friction and disruption to the vein and a higher chance of blowing the vein.
  8. by   georgia_aa
    When placing an IV, you have to think not only about how that IV will function intra-op but post-op as well. If I'm cannulating the AC or an EJ I'll always use the longer catheter because I worry that the shorter catheter might lever out of the vein with normal patient movement. If you place a 1.25" catheter in the AC, the catheter could easily migrate out of the vein just by the patient bending their elbow. This is especially true if you don't get much of the catheter into the vein to start with. Ditto for EJ's - a simple turning of the head and that catheter is out of that extremely mobile vein. Everywhere else, the shorter catheter is more desirable due to it's more favorable flow characteristics.
  9. by   toobemall
    Back in my flight nurse days the long 14 Jelcos were nice for needle chest decompression and well as for those "in a pinch" femoral IVs.