IV Solution Filter vs. IV Air Vent Filter

Disposable infusion sets


IV set with filter is the IV set that has a small micron solution filter at the bottom of the drip chamber. This filter removes potential contaminants from the infusion fluid. The air vent filter is in the plastic spike and is used to filter some pathogenic microorganisms and other unnecessary particulates that could enter the drip chamber.

IV drip chamber with spike and filter
IV drip chamber with spike and filter
  • When the container of the intravenous (IV) fluid is suspended while the infusion is going on, the IV air vent filter is housed over the superior part of the drip chamber. In contrast, the IV solution filter is inside and at the most inferior part of the drip chamber.
  • They are located in different sites with the drip chamber, and each one performs relatively different functions.

Safety roles 

In medical healthcare, one of the primary modes of delivering different procedures to save patients’ priceless lives is infusion therapies. These therapies are available to provide parenteral nutrition, blood and fluid volume replacement or substitution, and medication administration (s). In carrying these out, much workload is put upon both the physicians and nurses who practically run and operate the hospital’s different departments and sections.

air vented disposable infusion set with solution filter
Disposable IV set with filter

To lighten these healthcare workers’ responsibilities and possibly reduce their liabilities to the patients, they must use infusion gadgets equipped with safety features. Thus, IV set with filter is necessarily used.

Types of filters

IV Air vent filter 

The air vent is one part of the IV set. Some air could enter the IV fluid container through the air vent and exert some pressure on the fluid. The air vent is a significant structure, especially when the IV fluid container is rigid, such as a bottle and a non-collapsible plastic bag.

However, since there is a potential opening in the structure, pathogenic microorganisms and other unnecessary particulates could enter, thereby posing some complications to the patient’s health and safety. To avoid all of these potential problems, we need a filter installed in the air vent.      

The air vent filter’s primary function is to prevent the entry of particulates mixed in the air that is entering it. The outside air passes through the air vent filter and goes straight into the IV fluid container. Without this filter, all particulates that go with the outside air will also enter the IV fluid container, posing some danger to the patient’s safety.

With the use of our existing and current product, for particles having a diameter of 0.5 μm or more extensive, its filtration rate is equal to or greater than 95%. Aside from particulates, airborne bacteria and other pathogens, and other debris are eliminated by this filter.

drip chamber with spike and filter
Drip chamber with spike and filter

IV Solution filter

While the air vent filter screens the outside air entering the air vent, the solution filter removes unnecessary particles and debris in the IV fluid before entering the tubing and the patient’s bloodstream. The solution filter used in our most IV sets has a diameter of 12.5 mm and a filter membrane pore size of 15 microns. The filtration rate of latex particles is equal to or greater than 80%.  

A study conducted by Yakugaku Zasshi et al. in 2006 and published in PubMed.gov, with the title “Usefulness of the final filter of the IV infusion set in the intravenous administration of drugs—contamination of injection preparations by insoluble microparticles and its causes.” It was determined that the placement of a solution filter in any IV line is vital to prevent the onset of bacterial infections and eliminate insoluble microparticles in the bloodstream patient. Suppose unnecessary microparticles and pathogenic microorganisms are prevented from entering the system of the patient. In that case, many complications, such as phlebitis and systemic infections, will be prevented.

Another study conducted by Maxime Perez et al. and titled “Effectiveness of in-line filters to completely remove particulate contamination during a pediatric multidrug infusion protocol” determined that in-line filters significantly reduce particulate entry matter into the bloodstream of patients, from 416,974 to 7,551 particles. This study concluded that in-line filtration serves as an effective tool to prevent unnecessary particles from entering patients’ bloodstreams.

So far, the effects of particle-contaminated infusions in adult patients are still unclear and undocumented. Thus, a study conducted by Elke Schmitt et al. titled “In-line filtration of intravenous infusion may reduce organ dysfunction of critical adult patients” that published in the Journal of Intensive Care Medicine in November 2019. It concluded that in-line filtration using 0.2 and 1.2 um filters would lead to lesser organ dysfunction and less inflammation in critically ill adult patients.

These studies prove to all and sundry that the filter plays a critical role in preventing possible complications among patients receiving infusion therapies. With this preventive role, patients’ stay in the hospital will not be prolonged, reducing expenses on the patient and the government. More importantly, with the use of these filters, lives could be saved.  

Care of the filters

Even without observable problems, the IV set needs to be changed every 48-72 hours. It was observed that issues related to the IV set usually occur on the third day of use. Thus, the practice needs to be followed because it is too hard to evaluate the filters’ functional competence after the IV set has been in use for days. From the aforestated studies and references, we can know that filters play a significant role in removing particulates, debris, and pathogenic microorganisms from the IV fluid. The filters ensure that the patient is safe from receiving the IV fluid. Thus, periodic replacement of the IV set wherein the filters belong needs to be done.

1 thought on “IV Solution Filter vs. IV Air Vent Filter”

  1. Thank you for sharing the useful information. Can I get the list of tests to be conducted for both filters and applicable ISO standards.

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