Introduction: Large-bore cannulas are critical to administering IV fluids and blood products during resuscitation and treatment of hemorrhage. Although catheter flow rates for crystalloid solutions are well defined, rapid administration of blood products is poorly characterized. In this in vitro study, we examined the effects of hemodilution and needleless connectors on red blood cell (RBC) flow rates.
Methods: To determine RBC flow rates through large-bore cannulae, a crystalloid solution (Normosol®, Hospira, Lake Forest, IL) or RBC units were warmed and delivered under pressure (360 mmHg) using a Level 1 H-1200 Fast Flow Fluid Warmer (Smiths Medical, St. Paul, MN). Flow rates for crystalloid, packed RBCs and diluted RBCs were determined using a stopwatch. Additionally, the effect of the MaxPlus® clear needleless connector (CareFusion, San Diego, CA) was measured in all three infusion groups.
Results: Flow rates for undiluted RBC units were 53% slower than crystalloid solution (220 mL/min vs. 463 mL/min; p=0.0003), however, when RBC units were diluted to a hematocrit of ~30% flow rate improved to 369 mL/min (p=0.005). The addition of the MaxPlus® needleless connector reduced flow of crystalloid solution by 47% (245 mL/min; p=0.0001), undiluted RBCs by 64% (78 mL/min; p=0.01), and diluted RBCs by 51% (180 mL/min; p=0.00003). Compared to undiluted RBC units, hemodilution increased RBC delivery rate through a MaxPlus® connector by 130% (p=0.004) and by 68% (p=0.02) when the catheter was directly connected to the Level 1 tubing (MaxPlus® excluded).
Conclusion: In settings requiring rapid transfusion of RBC units, needleless connectors should not be used and hemodilution should be considered in order to decrease the time required to deliver an equivalent red cell mass.Reference:
Burbridge MA, Panigrahi AK, Stone SA, Jaffe RA, Brock-Utne J. Rapid Blood Transfusion: The Importance of Hemodilution and Needleless Connectors. Cureus. 2021 Mar 19;13(3):e13999. doi: 10.7759/cureus.13999. PMID: 33880314; PMCID: PMC8053387.
Impact of needleless connectors on rapid blood transfusion in this in vitro study demonstrated that red blood cell transfusion reduced flow by 64 percent.
The authors found that "the addition of the MaxPlus® needleless connector reduced flow of crystalloid solution by 47%, undiluted RBCs by 64%, and diluted RBCs by 51%" when attached to 14g cannula.
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