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October 21, 2008
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Room Hall E2-Area N,
An Evaluation of Flow Rates of Normal Saline through Peripheral and Central Venous Catheters
Nathan J.D. Brown, M.D., B. MSC., Kaylene M. Duttchen, M.D., Jordan W.J. Caveno, F.R.C.P.C., M.D.
Anesthesia, Calgary Health Region, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Flow rates through IV catheters is dependent on many factors. The aim of this study was to compare flow rates through various IV catheters used in our health region, using our standardized equipment. Methods: We timed the running of 550 mL of normal saline through thirteen different IV catheters attached to Level 1 D-50 tubing under a constant driving pressure provided by the Level 1Technologies Inc. System 250 Fluid Warmer. In addition to the D-50 tubing by itself, catheters tested included 20 G, 18 G, 16 G, and 14 G ProtectIV Plus-W peripheral catheters, all 30 mm in length; a BD Insyte 14 G peripheral catheter 45 mm in length; an Arrow Rapid Infusion Catheter (RIC), an Arrow 12 Fr. Two-Lumen Hemodialysis catheter (proximal and distal lumens compared separately); an Arrow 6 Fr. Central venous catheter (CVC); an Arrow 8.5 Fr. CVC; an Arrow 16 G Single Lumen Infusion Catheter (SLIC); an Arrow Multi Lumen Infusion Catheter (MLIC); and an Arrow double lumen 14 G infusion catheter. We ran T-tests on the flow rates to determine statistical significance. Results: The catheters were organized into seven groups according to statistical significance. From fastest to slowest, the groups were as follows: Group 1: RIC, Level 1 Tubing, 8.5 Fr (10cm); Group 2: Hemodialysis line – proximal port; Group 3: 14G 30mm, 14G 45mm; Group 4: Hemodialysis line - distal port; Group 5: 16G 30mm, 6Fr; Group 6: 16 G SLIC; Group 7: 18G 30mm peripheral, Double Lumen.[table1]Conclusions: There were 5 interesting findings. Flow rates under pressure from the Level 1 warmer were all much higher than those stated on the manufacturers' packaging. The fastest individual catheters were the RIC and the 8.5 Fr CVC, which were statistically comparable to each other and the D-50 tubing itself. The hemodialysis line provided two high-flow lumens with a combined flow rate of close to 1 litre/minute. The 14 G catheters of different lengths (30 mm vs 45 mm) had flow rates that were not statistically different. This is counterintuitive. Lastly, the 16 G peripheral IV catheter provided a good compromise between the 18G and 14 G when we compared flow rates while also considering ease of catheter placement.

Anesthesiology 2008; 109 A1484
Table 1: Flow rates through Various Catheters Using the Level 1 Warmer
CatheterManufacturer's Flow Rate (mL/min)Mean Flow Rate (mL/min)Standard Deviation (mL/min)
20 G 30 mm63138.7N/A
18 G 30 mm110212.14.8
Double Lumen 14 G88212.98.8
SLIC 16 G, 10 cmNot listed339.820.9
16 G 30 mm215391.212.3
6 Fr. (10 cm length)Not listed395.111.5
Hemo dialysis line distal lumen220 and 370443.218.9
14 G 45 mm330483.722.0
14 G 30 mm325498.625.1
Hemo dialysis line proximal lumen220 and 370531.012.6
8.5 Fr. (10 cm length)Not listed594.611.1
RICNot listed603.321.0
Level 1 D-50 tubingNot listed601.145.2