Abstract The addition of a confluent stream increases the mean length of the sample zone and simultaneously decreases the involved concentrations. Simple equations describing these effects under ideal mixing conditions are proposed. The effects of the confluent stream on the overall sample dispersion may be more or less compensated, depending on the decrease in the post-confluence dispersion. When this compensation is almost total, a paradoxical situation occurs, in which the recorded peak height becomes practically unaffected by variations in the flow rate of the merging stream. In this situation, the peak width approaches a limiting value which is independent of the injected volume and of the flow rate of the confluent stream. Limiting values for the peak width and for the mean length of the sample zone are postulated. When the post-confluence dispersion is negligible, the effects of the confluence appear in the recorded peak. The confluent stream addition reduces the overlap between successive sample zones. The site of the confluence may be an important dispersion factor. A saturation index is proposed and practical implications are discussed.