Why IV In-Line Filters are Vital - A Case Report of a 13-Year-Old Girl

Read about a case report of a 13-year-old girl from Japan

October 18, 2022

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In February 2022, Shinya Shimoyama and colleagues from the Department of Pediatric Cardiology and the Department of Pharmacy of the Gunma Children’s Medical Center at Shibukawa, Japan published a case report emphasizing the importance of proper infusion management, including the presence of an Intravenous (IV) in-line filter in the infusion set-up1.



Who was the patient?


13-year-old girl with severe cardiomyopathy requiring IV treatment on the ICU, including catecholamine, olprinone, diuretics, vasodilators, and heparin.


What was the issue?


Repeated interruption of the drug infusion line due to route obstruction, resulting in fluctuating condition of the girl. The drug infusion line, including our NEO96 IV in-line filter, was only infused with dobutamine, olprinone and heparin diluted with 5% glucose solution. No apparent abnormalities were observed in the CVC, infusion route, in-line filter or infusion pump.


What was the cause of the frequent obstruction in the infusion line?


Experiments, including Scanning Electron microscopy (SEM) and Energy Dispersive X-ray  (EDX) methods, revealed that


  • microscopic particles (not visible to the naked eye) were formed in the infusion circuit during drug infusion therapy.
  • a large amount of these particles was trapped on the IV in-line filter surface on the upstream side and solid material was observed on the IV in-line filter surface on the downstream side.
  • trapped materials derived from interaction of the infused drugs.


Why are particles of concern for the ICU patient?


Intensive care patients usually receive a multitude of IV infusions with studies showing up to one million inadvertent particles per day2-5. Without IV in-line filters, microscopic particles are inevitably infused into the body and studies have shown that this may lead to a disturbance in the microcirculation and a compromised microvascular flow in vital organs may result in organ dysfunction of ICU patients6-12.


What were the lessons learned by Shimoyama et al.?


  • Clinicians should be aware of the risk of precipitate formation and reconsider prescription when starting drug infusion therapy.
  • Drug–drug interactions may not be readily apparent in clinical practice.
  • IV in-line filters retain particles and provide a practical option to reduce potential risks due to particulate matter13.


How can we help when IV in-line filters block?


IV in-line filters block (cause pressure alarms), because they are just doing their job, and removing particles. To avoid blockages, we would recommend using the expertise of our clinical specialists who have years of experience in infusion and IV in-line filter management. Our clinical specialist will work together with clinicians, nurses, and the pharmacy to optimize the infusion regime to the benefit of the ward and patients.





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Dr. Volker Luibl, MBA

Dr. Luibl is Pall Medical’s accomplished Demand Generation Marketing Manager with extensive expertise in medical device and clinical science.
Dr. Luibl is Pall Medical’s accomplished Demand Generation Marketing Manager with extensive expertise in medical device and clinical science.
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