Category: Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Keywords: nitroglycerin, administration set, drug sorption, PVC tubing, polyethylene, SCAPE (PubMed Search)
Nitroglycerin easily migrates into polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a plastic commonly used in intravenous tubing due to its flexibility and low cost. A slow rate of flow and long tubing length increase the loss of nitroglycerin. While using less absorptive tubing (i.e. polyethylene or polypropylene) when administering nitroglycerin is recommended, most published clinical studies looking at nitroglycerin have used PVC tubing.
A 1989 study compared nitroglycerin delivery through PVC tubing and low sorbing tubing at various concentrations and flow rates.1 Samples were obtained from the nitroglycerin bottle and the distal end of the tubing at several time points.
A 2018 study enrolled 8 volunteers to receive nitroglycerin infusions through PVC tubing and low sorbing polyolefin tubing.2
Bottom Line: Most studies evaluating nitroglycerin use in various clinical scenarios have used PVC tubing. Doses based on use with PVC tubing may be too high when using less absorptive tubing. Employing more conservative dosing strategies when using low sorbing tubing can help mitigate the risk of adverse effects (i.e. hypotension, headache).