Nurses at The Norwegian Radium Hospital have reported that some patients notice an unpleasant smell or taste in accordance with flushing of intravenous lines with commercially available prefilled syringes. We have conducted a study in healthy volunteers to investigate the occurrence, consistency and intensity of this phenomenon.
A randomised, blinded, crossover study comparing commercial available prefilled saline 9 mg/ml syringes to saline 9 mg/ml for injection in polyethylene package was performed in 10 healthy volunteers. The volunteers were given intravenous injections of varying volume and speed. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, and also Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test to compare groups.
After intravenous injection, 2 of 15 recordings demonstrated any sensation of smell or taste after injection of saline from polyethylene package, while 14 of 15 recordings noted a sensation after injection of saline from prefilled syringes. The intensity of the unpleasant sensation was rated significantly higher after injection of saline from prefilled syringes compared to saline from polyethylene (p = 0.001).
Injection of saline from prefilled syringes in healthy volunteers resulted in an experience of bad taste or smell. It is important that nurses and health workers are aware of the phenomenon as described in this article in order to choose the preferred product for a given patient.