Colonized IV connectors

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Intravenous products: Infection Control Today report “In the ongoing fight against costly and potentially fatal catheter related bloodstream infections (CRBSI),new clinical data presented at the 21st annual scientific meeting of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) demonstrates that both the exposed end of IV administration sets (male luers) and catheter luer access valves are colonized by the microbes that cause CRBSI. DualCap from Catheter Connections disinfects and protects male luers and luer access valves.

In the study led by Bert K. Lopansri, MD, of Loyola University Medical Center and Hines VA Hospital, researchers conducted microbiology examinations of male luers and luer access valves collected from five intensive care units located within one hospital. Not only were male luers and luer access valves colonized by microbes, the male luers were colonized at a greater frequency (37 percent) than the luer access valves (24 percent). The researchers also found significant cross-contamination, where the same microbes colonized on the male luer were also found colonized on the luer access valve, as well as in the patient’s blood. Surprisingly, how well the nursing staff complied with the hospital’s policy for periodically replacing used luer access valves with new valves was not associated with reduced colonization rates. The authors concluded that colonization of the male luer can potentially introduce organisms into the fluid path inside of the luer access valve.

During infusion therapy, fluid is delivered to the patient by inserting the male luer at the end of an IV administration set into a luer access valve attached to the patients catheter. Therefore, the risk of cross-contamination exists between these two connectors. While luer access valves can be disinfected by swabbing with an antiseptic, male luers cannot be disinfected by swabbing as the antiseptic will enter the fluid path of the IV administration set and potentially into the patients bloodstream.”

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