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  1. C. N. D. Cruickshank,
  2. Caroline Hooper,
  3. H. B. M. Lewis*,
  4. J. D. B. MacDougall
  1. M.R.C. Unit for Research on the Experimental Pathology of the Skin, University of Birmingham, Birmingham
  2. Regional Blood Transfusion Service, Birmingham
  3. Department of Anatomy, Queen's College, University of St. Andrews, Dundee


    The toxicity of different rubbers and plastics used in transfusion-giving sets has been investigated by examining their effects on (a) cultures of chick embryo tissues, (b) the oxygen uptake of guinea-pig skin tissue cultures, and (c) the growth of Str. pyogenes.

    The results of the laboratory tests have been compared with the incidence of thrombophlebitis after prolonged transfusions through the various materials.

    It was found that where the materials inhibited the growth of Str. pyogenes they were also toxic to tissue cultures, but that some materials which were toxic to tissue cultures did not inhibit bacterial growth.

    The assessments of the relative toxicity of the materials tested by the two tissue culture methods were in agreement. The skin respiration studies, however, gave more information on the early effects of the toxic materials. The relative toxicity of the materials as revealed by these tests could be correlated with the differences in the incidence of thrombophlebitis following intravenous infusions administered through giving-sets assembled with the materials tested.

    It is suggested therefore that the toxicity revealed by these tests is of clinical importance, and that tissue culture toxicity tests will prove to be of value in selecting rubbers and plastics for clinical purposes.

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    • * Present address: Blood Transfusion Centre, 62. East Terrace, Adelaide, S. Australia.