Plastic particle migration during intravenous infusion assisted by a peristaltic finger pump in an animal model.

Research paper by P A PA Dewan, H H Ehall, G A GA Edwards, D J DJ Middleton, J J Terlet

Indexed on: 05 Nov '02Published on: 05 Nov '02Published in: Pediatric Surgery International


The contamination of intravenously administered fluid with foreign material has always been of major concern, but the in-vivo impact of silicone embolisation from administration of fluid via a peristaltic finger pump (PFP) has not previously been assessed. To determine whether silicone particles enter the lungs and to review the histological response, 10 rabbits received an IV infusion of 0.9% saline at 10 ml/kg per hour over a 72-h period, via an IVAC 591 PFP. The lungs were analysed for silicone particles with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray analysis (EDXA). These results were compared with a control group of non-infused animals. Silicone particles were found in 8 of 10 animals in the experimental group and in 2 of 9 control animals, indicating that silicone particles are dislodged during pump-assisted IV infusions. The difference between the control and infused animals was statistically significant using Fisher's exact test (P = 0.023). However, silicone plastic particles in control animals suggest that there is also environmental exposure to silicone in addition to those particles that come from a therapeutic source. The additional finding of elemental silicon (which is one of the constituents of silicone plastic) in both infused and control animals in which silicone plastic was not found indicates that not all elemental silicon in animals reflects the presence of silicone plastic. The clinical significance of each of these two findings is yet to be determined.