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The aim of the study was to determine whether the placement of a SmartSite antireflux valve between a bag of fluid with line giving set and an intravenous cannula decreases the flow rate. Fluid flow rates were compared in paired experiments with and without an antireflux valve using a pressure infuser or allowing fluid to flow by gravity only for four different sizes of intravenous cannulas (20–14 G). Antireflux valves significantly decreased the fluid flow rates for all cannula sizes, irrespective of whether a pressure infuser was used. The decrease in the flow rate was most marked for larger cannulas [gravity only: 14 G: 52% (95% confidence interval (CI): 37–68), 16 G: 39% (95% CI: 34–43); pressure bag: 14 G: 74% (95% CI: 70–78), 16 G: 56% (95% CI: 54–57); all P<0.001]. Where maximum fluid flow rates are desirable, clinicians should consider not using an antireflux valve.