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"In this study we utilised a rapid infuser to deliver room-temperature normal saline through two introducer sheath configurations with and without the addition of needleless connectors and the placement of catheters through the introducer sheaths" Smeltz et al (2024).

Needleless connector flow rates

Abstract:

A vascular introducer sheath is often used for rapid volume replacement. However, common manipulations such as the addition of needleless connectors to infusion ports and the insertion of catheters or other devices through the introducer sheath may impede flow. In this study we utilised a rapid infuser to deliver room-temperature normal saline through two introducer sheath configurations with and without the addition of needleless connectors and the placement of catheters through the introducer sheaths. The maximal flow rate delivered by the rapid infuser was 1000 mL/min, which was observed with both introducer sheath sizes tested without additional resistive elements. However, with the addition of a needleless connector, flow rates through the introducer sheaths were substantially lower (64 (standard deviation (SD) 6) mL/min and 61 (SD 7) mL/min for the 8.5 Fr and 9 Fr introducers, respectively). Flow rates were also reduced when catheters were placed within the sheaths (298 (SD 9) mL/min with the 7 Fr catheter and 74 (SD 9) mL/min with the 8 Fr catheter placed in an 8.5 Fr sheath; 649 (SD 6) mL/min with the 7 Fr catheter and 356 (SD 14) mL/min with the 8 Fr catheter placed in the 9 Fr sheath). These findings indicated that both needleless connectors and the placement of catheters through vascular introducer sheaths substantially reduced potential flow rates. Even ‘large’ vascular introducer sheaths capable of delivering high flow rates could be rendered minimally effective for rapid fluid administration when used in this way. Clinicians should consider these impediments to flow when rapid fluid administration is required, and obtain alternative vascular access if necessary.


Reference:

Smeltz AM, Patel DS, Williams JH. The influence of needleless connectors and inserted catheters on flow rates through vascular introducer sheaths. Anaesth Intensive Care. 2024 Apr 22:310057X241226715. doi: 10.1177/0310057X241226715. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38649298.