Canadian Journal of Anaesthesia

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 156–159 | Cite as

Risk of cross-infection related to the multiple use of disposable syringes

  • Claude A. Trépanier
  • Martin R. Lessard
  • Jacques G. Brochu
  • Pierre H. Denault
Clinical Investigations


The rate of blood contamination of IV tubings used in anaesthesia practice was investigated. Only IV tubings started in the operating room were studied. First, 300 tubings of three different types were tested at the three distal injection sites. The contamination rate was 3.3 per cent at the injection site closest to the IV cathétér and 0.3 per cent at the furthest. The presence of a checkvalve did not affect the contamination rate. Second, 300 third injection sites fixed at a level equal to or above the IV cathétér were tested. None of them was contaminated. Finally, in order to evaluate whether changing the needle alone could prevent the contamination of syringes, injections were made into a tubing where blood was flowing. Thirty-four per cent of the syringes tested positive for blood. We conclude that IV tubings have a significant contamination rate in usual practice. This rate decreases as the distance from the IV cathétér increases. The use of the third site fixed at a level equal to or above the IV cathétér carries a lower risk of contamination. Changing the needle alone is a useless procedure to prevent crosscontamination.

Key words

complications: infections equipment: infusion systems, needles, syringes infection: acquired immune deficiency syndrome operating rooms: contamination 


Le taux de contamination sanguine des tubulures des intraveineuses installées en salle d’opération a été étudié. Premièrement, 300 tubulures ont été testées au trois premiers sites d’injection. La présence de sang a été détéctée dans 3.3 pour cent des sites d’injection proximaux et dans seulement 0.3 pour cent des sites distaux. La présence d’une valve antireflux n’a pas modifié l’incidence de contamination. Dans un deuxième temps, on a recherché la présence de sang au troisième site d’injection de 300 tubulures fixées à un niveau égal ou supérieur au cathétér veineux. Aucun de ces sites n’était contaminé. Finalement, I’efficacité de la pratique de changer seulement les aiguilles pour prévenir la contamination des seringues a été verifiee. Trentequatre pour cent des seringues testées étaient contaminées. En conclusion, le taux de contamination sanguine des tubulures est significatif dans la pratique anesthésique quotidienne. Ce taux diminue en s’éloignant du cathétér veineux. L’utilisation du troisiéme site d’injection, fixé a un niveau égal ou supérieur au cathétér veineux, comporte un risque inférieur de contamination. Enfin, changer uniquement les aiguilles est une pratique inutile pour prévenir la contamination des seringues.


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Copyright information

© Canadian Anesthesiologists 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claude A. Trépanier
    • 1
  • Martin R. Lessard
    • 1
  • Jacques G. Brochu
    • 1
  • Pierre H. Denault
    • 1
  1. 1.Dépurtement d’Anesthe’sieHôpital de l’Enfant-JésusQuébec

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