Overview: Needleless devices for connecting IV catheters, administration sets, and syringes were introduced in the early 1990s for the purpose of reducing the risk of needlestick injuries among health care providers. Although needleless connectors serve that purpose, their use has been associated with an increase in such complications as catheter-related bloodstream infection and catheter lumen occlusion. Complications may be related to design characteristics, user knowledge deficits, poor practices, or some combination thereof. The author describes the connectors in current use, how they differ in design and function, the potential complications associated with various models and practices, and the nursing interventions that can reduce the risk of these complications.
This article describes the needleless connectors in current use, how they differ in design and function, the potential complications associated with various models and practices, and how nurses can reduce the risk of these complications.
Lynn Hadaway is president of Lynn Hadaway Associates, Milner, GA. Contact author: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hadaway is a paid consultant for the following manufacturers of needleless connectors and protective cap devices: B Braun Medical, Baxter Healthcare, BD Medical, Excelsior Medical, and Hospira. Products manufactured by these companies are discussed in this article. Hadaway was also paid by Excelsior Medical for creating a presentation on needleless connectors, which she delivers at chapter meetings of the Infusion Nurses Society and the Association for Vascular Access. AJN's peer review process has determined this article to be objective and free of commercial bias.