Aim: This study assesses the improvement in outcome for newborn infants by decreasing major complications associated with intravenous fluid therapy by using an in-line filter, and evaluates the economical impact this might have in relation to daily changing of i.v. lines.
Methods: In a prospective controlled study, 88 infants were randomly assigned to receive either filtered (except for lipids, blood and blood products) or non-filtered infusions via a central catheter. Main outcome measures such as bacteraemia, phlebitis, extravasation, thrombosis, septicaemia and necrosis were all scored. The costs attributable to patients during a standard 8-day stay were also recorded.
Results: Significant reductions were found in major complications such as thrombi and clinical sepsis (control group (21), filter group (8); p < 0.05). Bacterial cultures of the filters showed a contamination rate on the upstream surface of 15/109 filters (14%). The mean costs of disposables were less in the filter group, showing a reduction from 31.17 euros to 23.79 euros.
Conclusions: The use of this in-line filter leads to a significant decrease in major complications and substantial cost savings.