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Anesth Analg. 2003 Feb;96(2):387-91, table of contents.

Traditional versus new needle retractable i.v. catheters in children: are they really safer, and whom are they protecting?

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics, Feinberg Medical School, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA.


Retractable needle IV catheters are designed to reduce needle-stick injuries; their use is mandated by federal regulations. We undertook a prospective data collection with the "traditional" IV catheters (JELCO) versus the "new" (Angiocath Autoguard). Assignment of catheter type was randomized by week. Data collected included assessment of the difficulty of i.v. access; number of catheters used; and splatters or spills of blood on skin, linen, floor, clothing, and operating room table. There were 473 attempted insertions in 330 patients over 20 days. No needle-stick injuries occurred. Seventy-seven blood spills or splatters occurred in 42 patients. The number of splatters or spills was four times more with the new compared with the traditional catheters. There were significantly more total splatters or spills and patients who experienced splatters or spills with new catheters when they were placed by attendings but not when placed by trainees. Our study suggests that use of this technology by more experienced anesthesiologists may increase the risk of exposure of health care providers to blood-borne pathogens. Practitioners should choose the i.v. system that allows the most efficient venous access with the least potential for blood contamination. Hospitals should allow the choice to be made by the individuals using the devices.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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