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Contamination of Intravenous Infusion Fluid: Effects of Changing Administration Sets

ALFRED E. BUXTON, M.D.; ANITA K. HIGHSMITH; JULIA S. GARNER, R.N., M.N.; C. MICHAEL WEST, M.D.; WALTER E. STAMM, M.D.; RICHARD E. DIXON, M.D.; and JOHN E. McGOWAN Jr., M.D.
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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Hospital Infections Branch, Bacterial Diseases Division, Bureau of Epidemiology, Center for Disease Control, 1600 Clifton Road; Atlanta, GA 30333.


Atlanta, Georgia


Ann Intern Med. 1979;90(5):764-768. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-90-5-764
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Daily change of intravenous (i.v.) infusion administration sets has been recommended by the Center for Disease Control since 1973 to reduce the risk of infusion bacteremia. To evaluate this recommendation, we undertook a prospective, randomized, controlled trial that compared the rates of i.v.-associated bacteremia, in-use i.v. fluid contamination, and phlebitis in 300 patients whose administration sets were changed every 24 h with those in 300 patients whose administration sets were changed every 48 h. No i.v.-associated bacteremia occurred. Twelve of 600 infusions (2%) had positive infusion-fluid cultures: five in one group and seven in the other. Both groups had comparable rates of phlebitis. In this study population with low rates of fluid contamination, no benefit accrued from changing the administration sets every 24 h instead of every 48 h. In hospitals with low rates of fluid contamination, the routine changing of i.v. administration sets every 48 h will result in substantial financial savings.

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