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Safety of Changing Intravenous Delivery Systems at Longer Than 24-Hour Intervals

JEFFREY D. BAND, M.D.; and DENNIS G. MAKI, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grants support: in part by Grant 133:B271 from Burroughs-Wellcome Company. During the period of this study, Dr. Band was supported by Training Grant AI-00432 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health.

Presented in part at the Fifth National Meeting of the Association of Practioners in Infection Control, 2 June 1979, Boston, Massachusetts; and at the Eighteenth Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 4 October 1978, Atlanta, Georgia.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Dennis Maki, M.D.; Infectious Disease Section, H4/572—Clinical Science Center, University of Wisconsin Hospitals; 600 Highland Avenue; Madison, WI 53792.


Madison, Wisconsin


© 1979 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1979;91(2):173-178. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-91-2-173
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Routinely changing the intravenous delivery system (fluid containers and administration set) every 24 h is widely practiced in American hospitals to reduce the risk of septicemia caused by contaminated infusate. We did a prospective clinical study to ascertain whether changing at longer intervals could be justified. At the conclusion of infusion therapy through one system, both the cannula and an aliquot of remaining fluid were cultured quantitatively. Of 790 infusions, contaminated infusate was detected in one (0.39%) of 258 discontinued and sampled after 1 to 24 h of continuous use, three (0.84%) of 359 after 25 to 48 h, and one (0.58%) of 173 after 49 to 71 h; none of these five contaminated systems produced septicemia. However, five cannula-related septicemias were identified during the study, none associated with concordant contamination of infusate. Routinely replacing the delivery system every 48 h seems to be justified and could result in considerable savings to hospitals. Infection of the cannula wound and contamination of infusate seem to be unrelated.

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