Zero-Displacement IV Connector Reduces Bloodstream Infections, Long-Term Study Says

A zero-displacement intravenous (IV) needleless connector was associated with dramatically lower infection rates when compared to positive- and negative-pressure connectors, a new multi-site study reports.

The study's statistically significant data on IV connectors (also called hubs, valves and injection caps) was reported from five intensive care units and one long-term acute care (LTAC) facility.

After switching to the zero-displacement connector (InVision-Plus®, RyMed Technologies), participating facilities saw an overall reduction of approximately 75 percent in central-line associated bloodstream infection (CLABSIs).

Researchers also concluded the zero-displacement connector would result in substantial costs savings, and they estimated that use of the connector saved 13 lives.

The reduction in CLABSI rates was reported in the peer-reviewed journal, American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC). Similar data was the subject of a poster presentation at the recent 2nd International Conference on Prevention and Infection Control 2013 (ICPIC 2013).

"This long-term study is yet more evidence that IV connector design matters when it comes to preventing CLABSIs," says Cynthia C. Chernecky, RN, PhD, one of the study authors. "Our results show this connector has demonstrated much better ability to reduce infections in clinical settings, when compared to several positive- and negative-pressure connectors."

Preventing CLABSIs is a major medical concern because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that U.S. patients suffer approximately 250,000 such infections each year. CLABSIs have an estimated mortality rate of 12 percent to 25 percent, according to the CDC, and cost an average of $35,000 to treat.

One of the study authors is William R. Jarvis, MD, a leading expert on infection control. Jarvis was among the first researchers to call attention to the higher CLABSI risk associated with both positive- and negative-pressure IV connectors.

"It's very important for clinicians to do research and publish their results about IV connectors," Jarvis says. "This study adds important new information to what is known about the efficacy of various kinds of connectors."

Compared to positive-pressure connectors, use of the zero-displacement connector reduced infections by approximately 60 percent.

In the LTAC, InVision-Plus was compared to two negative-pressure connectors: a split septum connector and a mechanical valve device. The zero-displacement device (InVision-Plus) reduced CLABSIs by approximately 94 percent.

Overall, the study encompassed 70 months and more than 70,000 catheter days.

The AJIC article also projected substantial financial savings when the six facilities switched from a positive or negative pressure connector to InVision-Plus. Because of avoided CLABSIs, the facilities saved a projected $3 million in infection treatment costs, the researchers said.

Other authors on the study and poster were Denise Macklin BSN, RNC, VA-BC, and Thomas V. Joshua, MS.

The text of the ICPIC poster was also published on the website of the journal Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control. The ICPIC 2013 conference was held June 25-28 in Geneva, Switzerland.