Glass ampules, filter needles. Is this a real or theoretical risk?

  1. I know we're supposed to use filter needles on meds drawn from glass ampules, so I do. However, in the first, oh, 25 years of my nursing career I didn't. Is this a theoretical risk, or does research of actual harm done exist? Anybody know?
    Bottom line: is there a real (research-based) danger, or are we just afraid of glass?
    Last edit by aging1 on Jul 1, '12
  2. Poll: Is there a real danger from glass ampules, or is it just an intuitive practice?

    • Yes

      75.00% 6
    • No

      25.00% 2
    8 Votes
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    About aging1

    Joined: Oct '10; Posts: 25; Likes: 73


  4. by   Dixielee
    I don't have that answer either, but your post reminded me of those huge Aminophylline vials that actually came with a little saw to hack through the narrow part of the ampule. Those were the days...
  5. by   lovenandj, RN
    I don't know if there has been research done, but I have seen shards/slivers of glass after breaking ampules, thus I would think the possibility exists for smaller shards to be present.
  6. by   iluvivt
    Yes it is a real risk esp if the particles accumulate ...all of those particles usually end up in your lungs. On Autopsy if they go looking they can be found in the lungs esp if the patient has had prolonged hosptialization. The size of allowable particles in IVF is also regulated and there is a cuttoff by mircon size of the particles you can have in IVFs. One function of a filter is also to catch paticulate matter and in the case of a microaggregate prevents micoraggregates from entering the vascular system.
  7. by   MunoRN
    "The potential risks associated with intravenous administration of glass particles are based on animal studies, though similar risks would apply equally to humans. It has been shown that glass particles cause inflammatory reactions (eg, phlebitis) and granuloma formation in pulmonary, hepatic, splenic, renal, and intestinal tissue. This represents a significant risk of an adverse patient outcome"



    Glass ampules and filter needles: an example of implementing the sixth 'R' in medication administration | MedSurg Nursing | Find Articles
  8. by   aging1
    Thanks! LOVE this site - so many good brains to pick. I'll stop rolling my eyes when I use filter needles. . .
  9. by   amoLucia
    Hadn't thought of those glass filters in a looooong time. When I had to, I used them. Why risk some microscopic potential contaminant? Lasix (little brown amps) and KCl (clear amps) had to have the necks cracked with an alcohol prep breaking away from you. You could invert the amp with the needle inside and no dripping because of the surface tension. OMG!! What a flashback!:icon_roll