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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Hospitals Should Not Use Needles to Connect IV Lines, FDA Says

June 2, 1992
AIDS Alert (06/92) Vol. 7, No. 6, P. 91

The Food and Drug Administration is recommending that health-care facilities stop using needles to connect intravenous lines, according to Thomas Arrowsmith-Lowe, deputy director of the FDA's office of health affairs and AIDS coordinator for the center for devices and radiological health. "Any needle not for hypodermic use, not for penetrating the skin, is not an essential needle," he said, adding that the warning advises hospitals to use a needle-less mechanism or a recessed needle to connect IV equipment. Arrowsmith-Lowe said workers pricked with needles connecting IV lines are at risk of bloodborne infections and exposure to medications, and patients are also at a considerable risk of the needle breaking off and travelling through the IV system. Janine Jagger, PhD, MPH, associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of Virginia--Charlottesville reported at a congressional hearing on health-care worker safety that a study found 50 percent of needlesticks are caused by unnecessary needles, or those used to connect IV lines or access IV sites. She added that about a dozen alternate devices to connect IV lines are now available.