Modifying peripheral IV catheters with side holes and side slits results in favorable changes in fluid dynamic properties during the injection of iodinated contrast material

Paul W Weber, Courtney A Coursey, Laurens E Howle, Rendon C Nelson, Eli B Nichols, Sebastian T Schindera
AJR. American Journal of Roentgenology 2009, 193 (4): 970-7

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to compare a standard peripheral end-hole angiocatheter with those modified with side holes or side slits using experimental optical techniques to qualitatively compare the contrast material exit jets and using numeric techniques to provide flow visualization and quantitative comparisons.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A Schlieren imaging system was used to visualize the angiocatheter exit jet fluid dynamics at two different flow rates. Catheters were modified by drilling through-and-through side holes or by cutting slits into the catheters. A commercial computational fluid dynamics package was used to calculate numeric results for various vessel diameters and catheter orientations.

RESULTS: Experimental images showed that modifying standard peripheral IV angiocatheters with side holes or side slits qualitatively changed the overall flow field and caused the exiting jet to become less well defined. Numeric calculations showed that the addition of side holes or slits resulted in a 9-30% reduction of the velocity of contrast material exiting the end hole of the angiocatheter. With the catheter tip directed obliquely to the wall, the maximum wall shear stress was always highest for the unmodified catheter and was always lowest for the four-side-slit catheter.

CONCLUSION: Modified angiocatheters may have the potential to reduce extravasation events in patients by reducing vessel wall shear stress.

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