AJR: Modified catheter can reduce contrast material injuries

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Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have developed a modified catheter that can be used to prevent injuries to patients in the administration of contrast materials, according to a study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

According to Rendon C. Nelson, MD, professor of radiology at Duke University School of Medicine and colleagues, the force of the contrast material exiting the end hole of a standard catheter is believed to be the main cause of patient injury.

For purposes of the study, researchers modified catheters with side holes and slits, and imaging systems were used to compare the contrast flow from both the modified catheters and standard catheters.

"We found a less pronounced amount of contrast material exited the end holes of the modified catheter as compared with the standard end-hole-only catheter," Nelson said. "Numeric calculations showed that the addition of side holes or slits resulted in a nine to 30 percent reduction of the velocity of contrast material exiting the end hole of the catheter. And we saw more of a cloud-like dispersal rather than a jet."

According to Nelson, while the type of contrast material injury is usually fairly mild—including some pain and swelling at the injection site—it can be severe in some cases.

"As our study suggests, the development of a modified catheter that decreases the jet-like phenomenon seen with a standard end-hole catheter could improve patient safety and decrease the likelihood of injury," said Nelson.