WITH THE advent of better anesthesia, the use of antibiotics, and improved operative techniques, surgical procedures of increased magnitude are now possible. As a consequence, preoperative and postoperative care has taken on a new and ever-increasing importance. Intravenous therapy is no small part of this care of the surgical patient.
Use of an intravenous needle over several days is traumatic, and it is difficult to retain the needle in position. Frequent clots occur, and phlebitis develops in the injured vein.1 Extravasation of blood or fluids makes it impossible to find the vein again. In a short period, all of the superficial veins have lost their usefulness for intravenous therapy. The patient's partially or completely immobilized arm becomes a source of much physical anguish, and nursing care is increased and the patient cannot be moved without endangering the continuity of the infusion. Because of these well-known undesirable sequelae associated with