The Clinical Impact of Central Line Catheter Occlusions

Catheter Occlusions Negatively Affect Patient Care

Despite continued efforts by healthcare practitioners, occlusions in central line catheters (CVCs and PICCs) remain a significant issue that can result in:

  • Delays in critical patient care.

  • Increased risk of infection.

  • Increase in healthcare costs. 

Blood Reflux is a Key Cause of Catheter Occlusions

One important cause of catheter occlusion is blood reflux,1 or when blood backs up into the catheter.

  • Blood reflux can lead to an intraluminal thrombus, which may result in an inability to infuse IV fluids/medications.

  • An occluded catheter may lead to an inability to withdraw blood.

The Neutron Catheter Patency Device Prevents All Types of Reflux Into a Catheter

Unlike other technologies, such as positive displacement needlefree connectors, Neutron is the only device FDA 510(k)-cleared to prevent all forms of reflux into a catheter and is the first device to be cleared for all patient populations—including pediatrics and immunocompromised patients.

Internal Causes of Reflux

  • Changes in Vascular Pressure Caused by:
    > Coughing  > Movement  
    > Sneezing  > Crying
Reflux Causes | Needleless Connectors

External Causes of Reflux

  • Connection and Disconnection of a Luer
  • IV Bag Running Dry/Infusion Pump Stopping
  • Syringe Plunger Rebound
Neutron | Needleless Connectors

Reducing Catheter Occlusions with the Neutron Catheter Patency Device May Provide Real-Time Clinical Benefits

Avoid Delays in Critical Patient Care

  • Neutron may help avoid delays in therapy of critical intravenous medications  (e.g., antibiotics and oncolytics), nutritional support, and blood products.

Avoid Patient Discomfort and Pain

Avoid Unnecessary Costs

Help Reduce Risk of Infection


Potential Clinical Cost Savings with the Neutron Catheter Patency Device

With a reduced risk of catheter occlusions, there is decreased need for expensive declotting agents such as tPA, along with incremental clinical costs associated with managing catheter occlusions. Click below to find out how Neutron can help you make a real difference clinically and financially.

Est -Cost _Sav -Web

Neutron | Needlefree Catheter Patency Device

How it works

Neutron: Better By Design

Unique design allows Neutron to help prevent occlusions by reducing reflux and maintaining catheter patency.

Some devices on the market, including positive pressure needlefree connectors, are limited in their ability to reduce reflux. Because of an innovative design that incorporates a bi-directional silicone valve that helps prevent reflux at all times, Neutron helps maintain catheter patency during times when traditional connectors have been shown to occlude most often.

Unlike other valved or anti-reflux technologies, the bellows feature gives Neutron the unique ability to absorb and physically compensate for pressure variations that typically result in blood reflux into a catheter.

Neutron Features Wide2

The Neutron incorporates ICU Medical's patented split-septum silicone seal and straight internal fluid path technology, clinically shown to provide a "significantly reduced bacterial transfer rate." 3

  1. When Neutron is not being accessed, the silicone seal forms a safe, swabbable barrier to bacterial ingress.

  2. Upon luer access, the silicone seal is depressed and the fluid path windows are exposed through the device's split-septum.

  3. Fluid is either infused or aspirated through the connector and catheter via the dedicated straight internal fluid path.

Neutron | Needleless Connectors

Technical Specs

Residual Volume: 0.1 mL
Flow Rate at Gravity: 100 mL / minute
Blood Compatibility: Yes
MRI Compatibility: Yes
High Pressure Compatibility: 10 mL / second


Alcohol: Yes
Lipids: Yes
Chlorhexidine: Yes
Chemotherapy: Yes

Educational Seminars & Presentations

Needle Free Connectors

Needle-free Connectors: Split Septum vs. Mechanical Valve…Can this classification model predict infection risk? By Marcia Ryder, PhD MS RN. APIC 2010 Satellite Symposium, Tuesday, July 13th, 2010. Running time: 1hr. 27min.
Click Here to View the Seminar >



  1. Gorski, Lisa A MS, RN, CS, CRNI. Central Venous Access Device Occlusions: Part 1: Thrombotic Causes and Treatment. Home Healthcare Nurse. 21:2 115-121, February 2003.
  2. ICU Medical Study Summary. Observational In-Vivo Evaluation of the Neutron™ Needlefree Catheter Patency Device and its Effects on Catheter Occlusions in a Home Care Setting, 2011
  3. Ryder, et al, Differences in Bacterial Transfer and Fluid Path Colonization through Needlefree Connector-Catheter Systems In Vitro, Poster presented at the 2011 Infusion Nurses Society (INS) Annual Conference, Abstract 4987.

Product Reference


Disinfect to Protect

  • When placing a new Neutron on a catheter, disinfect the catheter hub and prime the Neutron.
  • Before accessing a Neutron, always disinfect the injection site with the approved antiseptic per facility protocol.
  • Scrub the injection site in accordance with facility protocol for appropriate scrubbing and dry times.

Disinfect to Protect

Administer or Aspirate

  • Attach IV tubing, syringe or blood tube holder to Neutron by inserting the luer and twisting ¼ turn, or until a friction fit is achieved.
  • When aspirating blood using evacuated tubes, the blood tube will fill slightly slower because of the Neutron anti-reflux valve.
  • To disconnect, grasp Neutron and then twist the mating luer away from Neutron until loose. Do not hold catheter hub during disconnect as this may cause accidental removal of Neutron from hub.

Administer or Aspirate

Flush After Each Use

  • Always flush Neutron with normal saline or in accordance with facility protocol after each use.
  • Use routine flushing in accordance with facility protocol in order to maintain catheter patency.
  • Change Neutron in accordance with facility protocol and CDC guidelines.

Flush After Each Use

Use Case Recommendations