The disposable infusion set is practically a tube system that connects the container of fluid, and medications with the needle inserted into the patient’s vein. However, it is not as simple a tube as it appears because attached parts perform a particular function along the way.
Parts and Functions
Plastic spike with cap
It is the structure that is located at the most distal end of the tube. It is used to pierce the IV fluid container and anchor the whole infusion set while the infusion is going on. It has a length of 66 mm.
Air vent with tube
The air vent connects with the plastic spike by a tube. It serves as an inlet of air going inside the drip chamber. The membrane filters out more than 90% of 0.5um air particles.
Drip chamber with rubber injection site
It is the sac-like and transparent chamber that is situated immediately below the air vent with the tube. It serves as a venue to contain liquids, count the flow rate, and observe if the IV fluid is flowing. It has a length of 48 mm. Doctors can inject medicines into the fluid through the rubber injection site.
The roller clamp is attached along the length of the tube. It can be rolled up and down along the plastic line, and it is used to control and regulate the flow rate of the IV fluid. It has a length of 48 mm.
Luer lock with filter
This structure is practically the most proximal part of the IV set,
and it is immediately behind the scalp vein set. It is in this structure that the needle is attached. It provides a 2-pronged function: If you want to replace the scalp vein set, you can do it any time. If you do not, the lock ensures that the scalp vein set is in place and cannot be easily removed. Equipped with the filter which pore diameter is15 to 18 microns, it could prevent impurities and debris from entering the patient’s bloodstream.
Scalp vein set/Winged needle
This structure contains the needle, which is used to pierce and prick the patient’s vein. It connects the IV set to the patient, and it has a gauge of 24. Being at the end of the IV set dramatically influences the flow of the IV fluid. If the more extensive the needle diameter, the faster the flow. If smaller, the flow could be slower. Thus, it is necessary to use the correct needle gauge to meet the patient’s fluid requirement.
The flexible and transparent tube is the main structure of the IV set. The line serves as the IV fluid’s central passageway, and all the supporting structures are attached to it. It has a length of 150 cm and is made of PVC or non-DEHP PVC.
Precautions and care
Before inserting the needle into the patient’s vein, ensure that you wash your hands with soap and water. Use a pair of sterilized gloves to cover your hands before starting to work.
Aseptically clean the IV insertion site
The insertion site could serve as the source of disease-causing microorganisms. Therefore, after selecting the site, clean the area by rubbing sterilized cotton soaked with an adequate amount of alcohol or povidone-iodine antiseptic solution. Wipe dry the site with another set of sterilized cotton.
Remove only the plastic cover of the needle when ready to insert
Do not remove the plastic cap prematurely. It means that if you are not ready to insert it, do not unnecessarily expose the needle by removing the protective cover so early. It would be helpful if your assistant could hold the protected needle, remove the plastic cap when you are ready, and then hand it to you for insertion.
Place adequate cover over the insertion site
If your needle insertion is successful, then place the adequate cover over the insertion site. You can use sterilized gauze as the first layer cover, then have it covered again by paper tape. Good cover over the insertion site could achieve two purposes: (1) protect the insertion site from the entry of disease-causing microorganisms. (2) stabilize the placement of the needle and prevent accidental removal or accidental puncturing of the sides of the vein, preventing, in turn, possible bleeding from the site.
Regular check-ups and evaluation of the whole IV set
The care and precaution of the infusion set do not stop when the needle has been inserted, and the IV fluid has started flowing. The entire IV set, especially and, more importantly, the insertion site, must be inspected, checked up, and monitored periodically—hourly if possible. By doing a periodic check of the IV set, the problems could be nipped in the bud. Problems like stoppage of the IV flow, erroneous flow rate, dislodgement of parts, bleeding and bulging at the insertion site, and possible infection at the insertion site could be found and solved at the earliest possible time.
Periodic replacement of infusion set and infusion site
Even without observable problems, the infusion set and the infusion site need to be changed every 48-72 hours. It was observed that issues related to the infusion set usually occur on the third day of use. It means that if the infusion set, or the use of the infusion site, is not replaced after the third day, then side effects could occur. For example, skin irritations, bacterial contaminations leading to skin inflammation, bruising and bulging, catheter dislodgement and occlusions, and other undesirable side effects could occur.