An in vitro study of silicone migration from intravenous fluid tubing.

Research paper by P A PA Dewan, A J AJ Owen, P J PJ Ashwood, J J Terlet, R W RW Byard

Indexed on: 01 Jan '97Published on: 01 Jan '97Published in: Pediatric Surgery International


Migration of particulate matter from plastic tubing and solid plastic implants has been documented in a number of studies, including some with the use of cardiac bypass, haemodialysis, and pump-assisted intravenous infusions. In order to ascertain whether silicone embolisation occurs when children have an Ivac 560 pump-assisted IV infusion, we passed 180 ml of pumped fluid through a microfilter and compared the scanning electron micrographs of those filters with unused filters and with others through which a similar volume had been passed without using the pump. The particles on the filters were analysed for their elemental content using energy-dispersive X-ray analysis. In addition, the appearance of the silicone tubing used in the pump over 3 and 72 h was assessed and compared to that of flow-only and unused tubing. More particles were found on the microfilter when fluid had been delivered via the pump than on those through which non-pumped fluid had passed or that were unused. Elemental silicon-containing particles were only found on the filter when a pump had been attached to the IV line. The flow-only and unused tubing were found to have adherent particles on the inner surface that were not seen once the tubing had been used for 3 h in the Ivac 560 pump. Also, after 72 h use, the silicone tubing had a deformed inner layer. The clinical significance of these findings is yet to be determined, but it does appear that silicone embolisation occurs during pump-assisted infusions in children.