We prospectively studied the safety of replacing intravenous delivery systems, including those used in total parenteral nutrition, at 72- compared with 48-hour intervals in 487 patients. Although the prevalence of contamination of intravenous fluid was higher in administration sets replaced at 72-hour intervals (10/664,1.5%) than in sets replaced every 48 hours (6/710,0.8%), the difference is not statistically significant. Contamination in both groups was almost exclusively with small numbers of coagulase-negative staphylococci (range, 1 to 27 colony-forming units/mL); no contaminated infusion was associated with clinical signs of sepsis or concordant bacteremia. Contaminants were recovered less frequently from peripheral venous infusions (0.6%) than from infusions used for central venous access or hemodynamic monitoring (1.5%) or total parenteral nutrition (3.6%); infusions in an intensive care unit were more frequently contaminated (2.5%) than infusions on medical and surgical wards (0.9%). These data indicate that extrinsic contamination of intravenous fluid is a rare cause of endemic nosocomial septicemia, and for most infusions it is unnecessary to routinely replace delivery systems more frequently than every 72 hours.
Maki DG, Botticelli JT, LeRoy ML, Thielke TS. Prospective Study of Replacing Administration Sets for Intravenous Therapy at 48- vs 72-Hour Intervals72 Hours Is Safe and Cost-effective. JAMA. 1987;258(13):1777-1781. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400130091039