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Infection Control in Intravenous Therapy

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Presented in part 11 April 1973 at the 54th Annual Session of the American College of Physicians, Chicago, Illinois.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Dennis G. Maki, M.D., Hospital Infections Section, Bacterial Diseases Branch, Bureau of Epidemiology, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA, 30333.

Boston, Massachusetts, and Atlanta, Georgia

Ann Intern Med. 1973;79(6):867-887. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-79-6-867
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The intravenous infusion has become indispensable in modern medical therapy, but infection, especially infusion-associated septicemia, remains a life-threatening hazard. In 1970 to 1971 a nationwide epidemic of nosocomial Gram-negative septicemia, traced by the Center for Disease Control to one supplier's contaminated infusion products, dramatically focused attention on the problem of infusion-related infection. Contamination of the intravenous system can occur at virtually any point, from the time of manufacture until the infusion is terminated in the hospital. Once contaminated, the intravenous cannula and its adherent thrombus can serve as an intravascular nidus for the proliferation and dissemination of microorganisms. Some pathogens grow luxuriantly in infusion fluids at room temperature, attaining concentrations exceeding 105 organisms per millilitre in 24 hours. Moreover, contamination of infusion fluid in use is probably common and must now be recognized as a potential cause of septicemia.





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