Exposed End of IV Administration Sets Overlooked as Source of Microbial Colonization

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 patients blood. Surprisingly, how well the nursing staff complied with the hospitals 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.

"Preventing microbes from migrating into catheters is essential for reducing CRBSI but current practice focuses only on disinfecting luer access valves," says Vicki Farrar, CEO of Catheter Connections. "Dr. Lopansris research proves that luer access valves are only part of the problem. Male luers can no longer be overlooked as an infection source. Our founders believed that male luer contamination was a significant and overlooked problem and that is why we developed DualCap, the only disinfecting cap that can safely disinfect and protect both male luers and luer access valves."

DualCap is a disposable, single-use device containing two caps one for the IV administration set male luer and one for the luer access valve. Each cap contains 70 percent isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and a patent pending delivery system that keeps IPA out of the fluid path. The caps disinfect the male luer and the luer access valve and keep each connector capped and protected from contamination whenever the IV administration set is disconnected from the patients catheter. Clinicians now have a quick and easy way to protect patients from contaminated IV administration set male luers and luer access valves.

CRBSI are a major healthcare concern. Approximately 500,000 cases of CRBSI occur in the U.S. each year. The CDC estimates that up to 25 percent of patients with CRBSI will die. As a result, the CDC and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services continue to vigorously campaign to reduce the frequency of CRBSI. Furthermore, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) no longer reimburse healthcare facilities for treating CRBSI.