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Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 1999 Feb;20(2):101-5.

Infusion therapy team and dressing changes of central venous catheters.

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  • 1Department of Medical Specialties, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.



To determine whether central venous catheter (CVC) dressing changes could be performed by ward nurses rather than by the infusion therapy team (ITT) nurses without increasing the risk of catheter-related infection.


Retrospective cohort study using prospectively collected data. The study extended from January 1995 to June 1996.


The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, a referral cancer center.


The study group was a random sample of 483 patients who received CVC dressing changes by ward nurses during the study period. A random sample of 483 patients who received CVC dressing changes by the ITT constituted the control group.


The risks of catheter-related septicemia were 1.7% among cases and 1.4% among controls (risk ratio, 1.14; 95% confidence interval [CI95], 0.26-6.42; P=.70). There also were no significant differences between the two groups in the risks of catheter-related site infection (risk ratio, 0.50; CI95, 0.02-4.12; P=.25) or any catheter-related infection (risk ratio=1.00; CI95, 0.27-3.64; P=.59).


Provided that aseptic techniques (including maximal barrier precautions during insertion) are maintained, the responsibility of CVC dressing changes could be delegated to the ward nurses without increasing the low risk of CVC-related infection, resulting in an estimated cost saving in excess of $90,000 per year.

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