Black pepper essential oil to enhance intravenous catheter insertion in patients with poor vein visibility: a controlled study

Kristiniak S, Harpel J, Breckenridge DM, Buckle J
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2012


ABSTRACT:

OBJECTIVES:
To evaluate the effect of topically applied black pepper essential oil on easing intravenous catheter insertion (IVC) in patients with no palpable or visible veins compared to a control group (standard nursing practice).

DESIGN:
Randomized, controlled study.

SUBJECTS:
One hundred twenty hospitalized patients, who were referred to a hospital vascular team because of difficulty in accessing veins for IVC insertion.

INTERVENTIONS:
Topical application of 20% essential oil of black pepper in aloe vera gel or standard nursing care (hot packs with or without vigorous tactile stimulation).

OUTCOME MEASURES:
Pre- and post-test vein visibility and/or palpability and number of attempts at IVC insertion.

RESULTS:
A higher percentage of patients achieved optimal scoring (vein score=2) or improved scoring (vein score of 1 or 2) to black pepper intervention than standard nursing care. The black pepper group also reduced the number of patients whose veins were still not visible or palpable after the intervention to nearly half that of the control group (p<0.05). The number of IVC attempts following black pepper was also half that of the control group.

CONCLUSION:
Topical application of black pepper is a viable and effective way to enhance vein visibility and palpability prior to intravenous insertion in patients with limited vein accessibility; it also improves ease of IVC insertion.

CITATION:

Kristiniak S, Harpel J, Breckenridge DM, et al. Black pepper essential oil to enhance intravenous catheter insertion in patients with poor vein visibility: a controlled study. J Altern Complement Med. 2012;18(11):1003-1007.


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