Excessive and inappropriate intravascular catheters use increases hospital days and cost, say researchers.
The study looked at 436 patients admitted to hospital between October and December 2007.
Of the 3806 total catheter-days recorded, on 1179 days (31% of the time) catheters were found to be inappropriately used.
Those who used catheters inappropriately were more likely to be admitted to intensive care and be in hospital for a prolonged period of time.
The researchers said: “Inappropriate intravascular device use is a very common phenomenon in hospitalised patients and is strongly linked to adverse device-related outcomes.
“These results may be used to develop strategies to systematically reduce excessive intravascular device use which would be expected to reduce adverse events associated with morbidity, mortality, and excess healthcare costs.”