IV catheter-related blood stream infections (CRBSI) are the most deadly of hospital-acquired infections. Each year, nearly 500,000 patients in US hospitals suffer from CRBSI and up to one in four die; hospitals lose an average of $47,000 per infection treated.
Beyond well-recognized areas of contamination that result in CRBSI such as colonization of skin and IV catheter connectors, IV stands are reservoirs of contamination.
As part of this study, components of IV stands including poles, bases, hooks, IV fluid bags and IV lines, located in patient rooms in an acute care unit, were evaluated for contamination.
Confirming the results of numerous other studies of patient room contamination, all IV stands tested positive for bacterial contamination and at least two components of each IV stand were bacterially contaminated. The highest contamination rates were found on the pole, hook and base of the IV stand. Five distinct species of bacteria were identified. If bacteria existed on any single component of the IV stand, there was a 76.5 percent chance that it would be identified on at least one other component. This suggests that bacteria are frequently and easily transferred during routine clinical handling and practice. The connector at the end of the IV line (the male luer) is a known route for CRBSI.
|Contamination rates IV stand components|
Because contamination on the IV stand can be transferred among the components hanging on the stand, such as from the IV pole to IV fluid line, all equipment hanging from the IV stand should be considered potentially contaminated, unless measures are taken to protect the equipment and IV lines from contamination.
Any medical device hung from or touching an IV stand must be protected from contamination, especially if it will ultimately touch a patient’s skin. A medical device can safely be stored on an IV stand if the entire device is protected from contamination, such as by a sterile-barrier wrapper that can be removed before the device is used.
For a copy of complete study results, contact Catheter Connections at 1.888.706.8883 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author
Dr. Donald Solomon is president and chief operating officer of Catheter Connections, Inc. and has more than 30 years experience in design and manufacturing patient-safety focused vascular access medical devices. He holds 60 patents and is the author of 52 scientific publications. Dr. Solomon received Masters and PhD degrees in Macromolecular Science from Case Western Reserve University and a B.S. in Chemistry from Weber State University.