Variability of performance of wound infusion catheters



      To compare the distribution of flow from two commercial and one handmade multihole wound infusion catheters.

      Study design

      Open label experimental measurement of flow distribution in a bench top apparatus of handmade (n = 10) and two commercial (n = 10 each) wound infusion catheters with 5–6″ (12–15.2 cm) long diffusion surfaces.


      The distribution of 6 mL of distilled water injected at three different injection speeds (0.5, 5, and 120 minutes) through individual triangular pieces of felt cloth fitted over six contiguous regions of the diffusion surface of each catheter was measured in triplicate.


      The distribution of flow through the six regions was significantly more uniform at the two faster injection speeds. Ninety two per cent of the 120 minute infusion trials resulted in one or more regions producing negligible flow (<5% of total output), and in 16% of the 120 minute trials all the flow came from just one or two regions.


      Constant-rate infusions of 3 mL hour−1 provide erratic distribution of flow from wound infusion catheters in a bench top apparatus. Commercial catheters did not outperform handmade catheters.

      Clinical relevance

      Uneven distribution of flow at low infusion speeds may contribute to inconsistent or unsatisfactory pain relief in patients treated with continuous wound infusions of local anesthetics.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Abelson AL
        • McCobb EC
        • Shaw S
        • et al.
        Use of wound soaker catheters for the administration of local anesthetic for post-operative analgesia: 56 cases.
        Vet Anaesth Analg. 2009; 36: 597-602
        • Buback JL
        • Boothe HW
        • Carroll GL
        • et al.
        Comparison of three methods for relief of pain after ear canal ablation in dogs.
        Vet Surg. 1996; 25: 380-385
        • Davis KM
        • Hardie EM
        • Martin FR
        • et al.
        Correlation between perioperative factors and successful outcome in fibrosarcoma resection in cats.
        Vet Rec. 2007; 161: 199-200
        • Fegley AJ
        • Lerman J
        • Wissler R
        Epidural multiorifice catheters function as single-orifice catheters: an in vitro study.
        Anesth Analg. 2008; 107: 1079-1081
        • i-Flow corporation
        On-Q catheters: frequently asked questions.
        (last accessed 12-2-2011.)
        • Fredman B
        • Zohar E
        • Tarabykin A
        • et al.
        Bupivacaine wound instillation via an electronic patient-controlled analgesia device and a double-catheter system does not decrease postoperative pain or opioid requirements after major abdominal surgery.
        Anesth Analg. 2001; 92: 189-193
        • Hardie EM
        • Lascelles BD
        • Meuten T
        • et al.
        Evaluation of intermittent infusion of bupivacaine into surgical wounds of dogs postoperatively.
        Vet J. 2011; 190: 287-289
        • Liu SS
        • Richman JM
        • Thirlby RC
        • et al.
        Efficacy of continuous wound catheters delivering local anesthetic for postoperative analgesia: a quantitative and qualitative systematic review of randomized controlled trials.
        J Am Coll Surg. 2006; 203: 914-932
        • McAtamney D
        • O’Hare C
        • Fee JP
        An in vitro evaluation of flow from multihole epidural catheters during continuous infusion with four different infusion pumps.
        Anaesthesia. 1999; 54: 664-669
        • Polglase AL
        • McMurrick PJ
        • Simpson PJ
        • et al.
        Continuous wound infusion of local anesthetic for the control of pain after elective abdominal colorectal surgery.
        Dis Colon Rectum. 2007; 50: 2158-2167
        • Power I
        • Thorburn J
        Differential flow from multihole epidural catheters.
        Anaesthesia. 1988; 43: 876-878
        • Radlinsky MG
        • Mason DE
        • Roush JK
        • et al.
        Use of a continuous, local infusion of bupivacaine for postoperative analgesia in dogs undergoing total ear canal ablation.
        J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2005; 227: 414-419
        • Rowlingson JC
        How can local anesthetic in the wound not help?.
        Anesth Analg. 2001; 92: 3-4
        • Wolfe TM
        • Bateman SW
        • Cole LK
        • et al.
        Evaluation of a local anesthetic delivery system for the postoperative analgesic management of canine total ear canal ablation–a randomized, controlled, double-blinded study.
        Vet Anaesth Analg. 2006; 33: 328-339
        • Wu CL
        • Partin AW
        • Rowlingson AJ
        • et al.
        Efficacy of continuous local anesthetic infusion for postoperative pain after radical retropubic prostatectomy.
        Urology. 2005; 66: 366-370