Accidental removal of devices in intensive care unit: An eight-year observational study

Alessandro Galazzi, Ileana Adamini, Dario Consonni, Paola Roselli, Daniela Rancati, Gianluca Ghilardi, Giovanni Greco, Gianluca Salinaro, Dario Laquintana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In the intensive care unit, invasive devices can be accidentally removed by the patient or by the operators, increasing workload, staff stress level and hospitalisation costs. Objective: to know the incidence of accidental removal of devices in critical patients, to identify their cause, when they occur and if they are repositioned. Methods: Retrospective observational study carried out in an academic, tertiary-level critical care department composed of three intensive care units. All adult patients recovered between 2011 and 2018 were enrolled. We calculated rates per 1000 device-years. Results: In the study period 10514 patients (194372 device-days) were admitted to the intensive care units and the number of reported accidental removal of devices was 451, corresponding to a rate of 2.3 episodes per 1000 device-days (95% confidence interval: 2.1–2-5). The overall rates of accidental removals were as follows: gastric tubes 10.2 (n = 270), intracranial devices 3.9 (n = 9), endotracheal tubes 2.4 (n = 27), central venous catheters and arterial catheters 1.5 (n = 92), peripheral intravenous catheters 1.2 (n = 25), surgical drains 0.5 (n = 15), urinary catheters 0.4 (n = 11), Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation cannulas 0.4 (n = 1), tracheostomy cannulas 0.1 (n = 1). Conclusion: Compared to the literature, this study shows fewer incidents of accidental removal of devices. The number of accidental removals could be an indicator of the quality and safety of the care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-38
JournalIntensive and Critical Care Nursing
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Adverse events
  • Central venous catheter
  • Nonvascular catheter
  • Physical restraint
  • Quality of care
  • Unplanned extubation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care


Dive into the research topics of 'Accidental removal of devices in intensive care unit: An eight-year observational study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this