Microbial contamination of blood conservation devices during routine use in the critical care setting: Results of a prospective, randomized trial

William T. Peruzzi*, Gary A Noskin, Suellen G. Moen, Margaret Yungbluth, Peter Lichtenthal, Barry A. Shapiro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objectives: To compare microbial contamination of two different blood conservation devices; to determine if there was an association between contamination of the blood conservation devices and clinical infections; to determine if there was a significant user preference for either of the two devices. Design: Prospective, randomized trial. Setting: Medical, neurosurgical, and spinal cord intensive care units of an urban, university hospital. Patients: Forty patients who required clinically indicated intraarterial catheters placed at new sites. Interventions: The two most widely available blood conservation devices at the time of the study (Venous Arterial blood Management Protection system(TM) [VAMP], Baxter Edwards Critical Care, Irvine, CA; and Safe Draw(TM), Ohmeda, Madison, WI) were chosen for comparison. After the normal 48 to 72 hrs of device use, the blood conservation systems were removed and semiquantitative and quantitative cultures were taken from comparable sites of the two devices. Positive cultures from the patients were recorded and correlated with cultures obtained from the devices. In order to assess preference for either device, a survey tool was administered to the nursing staff who participated in the study. Measurements and Main Results: Quantitative cultures from all sites cultured in both groups demonstrated mean colony counts of <103 colony- forming units (cfu)/mL. There were no statistically significant differences in the colony counts at any of the sites compared between the two groups. There were no statistically significant relationships between positive cultures and patient age, gender, duration of device utilization, frequency of device entry, or the intensive care unit in which the study was conducted. In no circumstance did positive cultures from any of the blood conservation devices correlate with positive culture results from any sites of clinical infection. The clinical survey demonstrated a statistically significant preference for the VAMP system, which persisted despite increased experience with the Safe Draw system. Conclusions: The levels of microbial contamination noted in these devices were not consistent with clinical infection (defined as 103 cfu/mL on quantitative cultures). There was no significant difference in degree or pattern of contamination between the two devices. When utilized and changed according to the Centers for Disease Control guidelines, blood conservation devices are not harbors of infection in the critical care setting. Blood conservation devices can be used as part of a comprehensive blood conservation program in the critical care setting without undue concern for exacerbating infectious processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1157-1162
Number of pages6
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 1996


  • blood conservation
  • catheterization
  • colonization, bacterial
  • critical care
  • critical illness
  • fungal infection
  • intensive care unit
  • nosocomial infection
  • quantitative cultures
  • sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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