Evaluation of the potential for blood splatter associated with six winged phlebotomy device designs

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Intravenous literature: Haiduven, D.J., McGuire-Wolfe, C. and Applegarth, S.P. (2012) Contribution of a Winged Phlebotomy Device Design to Blood Splatter. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. 33(11), p.1069-1076.


Background – Despite a proliferation of phlebotomy devices with engineered sharps injury protection (ESIP), the impact of various winged device designs on blood splatter occurring during venipuncture procedures has not been explored.

Objectives – To evaluate the potential for blood splatter of 6 designs of winged phlebotomy devices.

Design – A laboratory-based device evaluation without human subjects, using a simulated patient venous system.

Methods – We evaluated 18 winged phlebotomy devices of 6 device designs by Terumo, BD Vacutainer (2 designs), Greiner, Smith Medical, and Kendall (designated A-F, respectively). Scientific filters were positioned around the devices and weighed before and after venipuncture was performed. Visible blood on filters, exam gloves, and devices and measurable blood splatter were the primary units of analysis.

Results – The percentages of devices and gloves with visible blood on them and filters with measurable blood splatter ranged from 0% to 20%. There was a statistically significant association between device design and visible blood on devices ( ) and between device design and filters with measurable blood splatter ( ), but not between device design and visible blood on gloves. A wide range of associations were demonstrated between device design and visible blood on gloves or devices and incidence of blood splatter.

Conclusions – The results of this evaluation suggest that winged phlebotomy devices with ESIP may produce blood splatter during venipuncture. Reinforcing the importance of eye protection and developing a methodology to assess ocular exposure to blood splatter are major implications for healthcare personnel who use these devices. Future studies should focus on evaluating different designs of intravascular devices (intravenous catheters, other phlebotomy devices) for blood splatter.

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