Needleless connectors are the microbial gatekeeper for vascular access devices

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Needleless connectors (NCs) are essential devices which connect to the end of vascular catheters and enable catheter access for infusion and aspiration” Curran (2016).

Abstract:

Needleless connectors (NCs) are essential devices which connect to the end of vascular catheters and enable catheter access for infusion and aspiration. There are various different designs which make it difficult for purchasers to identify the features which present the least risk and greatest safety.

The NC is the microbial gatekeeper for vascular catheters; how it is disinfected pre access determines if, and how many, organisms enter and how quickly biofilm will form. This paper will consider these design variations and how differences in antiseptic testing methods have made it difficult to determine the best antiseptic practice pre access. One specific design characteristic is considered: the fluid pathway. The NC’s fluid pathway creates a flow which can be either direct to produce a laminar flow or indirect which creates a turbulent flow. At present, the evidence does not support there being an advantage for a specific fluid pathway design in reducing infection risks.

Reference:

Curran, E. (2016) Needleless connectors: the vascular access catheter’s microbial gatekeeper. Journal of Infection Prevention. 17(5), p.234-240.

doi: 10.1177/1757177416657164

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