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November 29, 1976

Preventing Bubbles in Intravenous Tubing

Author Affiliations

Purdue University West Lafayette, Ind

JAMA. 1976;236(22):2488-2489. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270230012008

To the Editor.—  Air bubbles trapped in intravenous (IV) administration tubing are of daily concern to physicians and nurses. The problem occurs with both gravity-fed and roller infusion pump IV sets. The attending medical person often will expend much time and effort attempting to eliminate this difficulty. At times, particularly in cases involving infants, bubbling will be extensive enough to delay the onset of therapy or interrupt its progress. Such delays and interruptions are often insignificant, but on occasion they may be life-threatening. Such a life-threatening episode led to the research that produced the solutions presented here.The standard procedure for filling IV tubing is to hang the reservoir on a stand, open the clamp, and allow the fluid to flow down the tubing. The liquid falls rapidly through the tube in broken streams or rivulets while the air rises, competing for the same space. Surface tension effects cause the