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Prostacyclin Administration Errors in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Patients Admitted to Hospitals in the United States: A National Survey

Martha Kingman

M. Tankersley

Sandra Lombardi

S. Spence

Fernando Torres

Kelly Chin


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Conference: 2010 International PHA Conference and Scientific Sessions

Release Date: 06.24.2010

Presentation Type: Abstracts

Kingman M1, Tankersley M2, Lombardi S3, Spence S4, Torres F1, Chin K1.
1. UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA
2. Accredo Health Group, Memphis, TN, USA
3. University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
4. University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA

BACKGROUND:  Epoprostenol and treprostinil are intravenous prostacyclin medications used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).  This survey explored hospital policies regarding prostacyclin infusions, and investigated the type and frequency of errors that occurred in the inpatient setting.

METHODS  Information on prostacyclin infusion policies and inpatient errors was obtained through detailed interviews with 18 PAH nurses, and through an electronic survey completed by 97 PAH clinicians. 

RESULTSThe electronic survey respondents reported wide variability in prostacyclin infusion policies, including variability in the use of home vs. hospital infusion pumps, and variability in the use and storage of back-up epoprostenol and treprostinil.  Serious or potentially serious errors in medication administration were reported by 68% of survey respondents.  The most common error types, (reported by ≥ 25%), included: incorrect cassette placed in the pump, inaccurate pump programming, errant drug dosing, and inadvertent cessation of the pump.  Nine errors, all at different centers, were felt to have contributed to a patient's death.  In the separate interviews with the PAH nurses, 94% reported serious errors.  These errors prompted many of the centers to implement policy changes in an attempt to reduce future errors, improve safety and optimize patient outcomes.

 CONCLUSIONS:   These findings suggest that prostacyclin infusion therapy is problematic and that an opportunity exists to improve safety. The development of standardized treatment guidelines should be considered.

Prostacyclin Administration Errors in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Patients Admitted to Hospitals