Liquid release as a source of potential drug exposure during the handling of intravenous infusions in nursing

  • Verena Segner
  • Renate Kimbel
  • Philipp Jochems
  • André Heinemann
  • Stephan Letzel
  • Daniel Wollschläger
  • Bernd Roßbach
Original Article



This study aims at experimentally determining the incidence and extent of liquid releases onto the operator’s hands and into the work environment during common nursing operations involving infusions.


A sequence of operations related to the preparation and administration of infusions was conducted by three subjects for 15 times each using fluorescein marked infusion solutions and two different infusion sets (standard set vs. safety-optimized set). Unintended release of liquid was quantified by glove and surface wipe sampling and HPLC/FD analysis of the samples. Operations concerning the disposal of infusions were also part of the study.


In over 90% of the simulations, a release of infusion solution was observed in a standard workflow, comprising priming and decapping the infusion set, connecting it to a peripheral intravenous (IV) cannula, and detaching it again. Based on median values (229 vs. 26 μl), the release of infusion solution was about ninefold higher when using the non-optimized standard infusion set. During decapping, a hand contamination was found in a majority of cases.


The handling of infusions may involve a risk of nurses’ exposure to active agents by release of infusion solution into the work environment. According to our results with different infusion sets, exposure risks can be reduced technically and by appropriate handling. Nevertheless, hand contaminations found for both sets emphasize the necessity for additional measures such as more consistent use of protective gloves.


Infusions Nursing Occupational drug exposure Healthcare Ambient monitoring Wipe sampling 



The authors thank Marie-Luise Kimbel for language revision of the manuscript. This study was funded by the German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the Health and Welfare Services (BGW).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

420_2017_1196_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 17 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Occupational, Social and Environmental MedicineUniversity Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University MainzMainzGermany
  2. 2.German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the Health and Welfare Services (BGW)CologneGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology and InformaticsUniversity Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University MainzMainzGermany

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