Objective: To provide an overview of the etiology, assessment, diagnosis, and management of infections and occlusions that occur with venous access devices (VADs). Conclusions: The two major complications of VADs are infections and occlusions. Several strategies have been attempted to prevent and treat infections and occlusions; however, one specific method has yet to be determined. As a result, major controversies exist regarding the best method to manage these complications. Controlled randomized studies are needed to examine each type of VAD in relation to preventive and treatment strategies. Implications for nursing practice: Preservation of VADs demands the development of and adherence to specific guidelines for maintenance care as well as an awareness of the incidence, presentation, and management of complications. Clearly, prevention is the key to effective management of infection and occlusion associated with VADs. Nurses must be familiar with institutional policies and procedures for the care of VADs.
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