Depleted batteries in intraosseous injectors

A National Patient Safety Alert has been issued around the risk of depleted batteries in intraosseous injectors.

The intraosseous (IO) route (that is, through the bone marrow) is used to access the venous system when intravenous access is not possible to administer medicines or fluids, often in emergency situations, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation. IO access is most commonly achieved using a battery-powered injector.

As the battery is sealed within the device and cannot be recharged or replaced, the first sign a battery may be depleted is in some circumstances when it does not work.

The alert asks providers to replace any battery-powered IO devices that do not have a battery power indicator light with ones with a display that shows how much power is remaining. Where IO devices with a battery power indicator are used, providers are asked to take steps to regularly check these devices to ensure sufficient battery power remains so the devices are always ready and available.

About National Patient Safety Alerts

This is the first alert to be issued as a new National Patient Safety Alert.

The NHS England and NHS Improvement patient safety team is the first national body to have been accredited to issue National Patient Safety Alerts by the National Patient Safety Alerting Committee (NaPSAC). All National Patient Safety Alerts are required to meet NaPSAC’s thresholds and standards . These thresholds and standards include working with patients, frontline staff and experts to ensure alerts provide clear, effective actions for safety-critical issues.

NaPSAC requires providers to introduce new systems for planning and coordinating the actions required by any National Patient Safety Alert across their organisation, with executive oversight.

Failure to take the actions required under any National Patient Safety Alert may lead to CQC taking regulatory action.

Patient safety alerts are shared rapidly with healthcare providers via the Central Alerting System (CAS).

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