Contamination of propofol infusions in the intensive care unit: Incidence and clinical significance

S. A.R. Webb, B. Roberts, F. X. Breheny, C. L. Golledge, P. D. Cameron, P. V. Van Heerden

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Epidemics of bacteraemia and wound infection have been associated with the infusion of bacterially contaminated propofol administered during anaesthesia. We conducted an observational study to determine the incidence and clinical significance of administration of potentially contaminated propofol to patients in an ICU setting. One hundred patients received a total of 302 infusions of propofol. Eighteen episodes of possible contamination of propofol syringes were identified, but in all cases contamination was by a low-grade virulence pathogen. There were no episodes of clinical infection or colonization which could be attributed to the administration of contaminated propofol. During the routine use of propofol to provide sedation in ICU patients the risk of nosocomial infection secondary to contamination of propofol is extremely low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-164
Number of pages3
JournalAnaesthesia and Intensive Care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Anaesthetics
  • Complications: nosocomial infection
  • Intensive care: nosocomial infection
  • Intravenous: propofol

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