Pauline Claraz, Isabelle Rif, Charlotte Vert, Elina Wolff, Sophie Perriat, Anaïs Grand, Yann Cretu, Isabelle Hennebelle, Jean-Marie Canonge, Florent Puisset
Purpose: Infusion of cytotoxic drugs carries the risk of occupational exposure of healthcare workers. Since disconnecting an infusion line is a source of contamination, flushing of tubing after infusion of cytotoxic agents is recommended, but the optimal volume of rinsing solution is unknown. The objective of this study was to assess whether postinfusion line flushing completely eliminates cytotoxics.
Methods: Infusions were simulated with 3 cytotoxics (gemcitabine, cytarabine, and paclitaxel) diluted in 5% dextrose injection or 0.9% sodium chloride injection in 250-mL infusion bags. Infusion lines were flushed using 5% dextrose injection or 0.9% sodium chloride solution at 2 different flow rates. The remaining concentration of cytotoxics in the infusion line was measured by a validated high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method after passage of every 10 mL of flushing volume until a total of 100 mL had been flushed through.
Results: All cytotoxics remained detectable even after line flushing with 80 mL of flushing solution (a volume 3-fold greater than the dead space volume within the infusion set). Gemcitabine and cytarabine were still quantifiable via HPLC even after flushing with 100 mL of solution. Efficacy of flushing was influenced by the lipophilicity of drugs but not by either the flushing solvent used or the flushing flow rate. After 2-fold dead space volume flushing, the estimated amount of drug remaining in the infusion set was within 0.19% to 0.56% of the prescribed dose for all 3 cytotoxics evaluated.
Conclusion: Complete elimination of cytotoxics from an infusion line is an unrealistic objective. Two-fold dead space volume flushing could be considered optimal in terms of administered dose but not from an environmental contamination point of view. Even when flushed, the infusion set should still be considered a source of cytotoxic contamination.
Keywords: cytotoxics, drug delivery system, environmental contamination, high-performance liquid chromatography, infusion, flushing
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