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Crit Care Nurs Q. 2011 Jan-Mar;34(1):31-5. doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0b013e3182048073.

"Scrub the hub": cleaning duration and reduction in bacterial load on central venous catheters.

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  • 1Baptist Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, USA.


This article reports the results of a study on the effect of alcohol disinfection duration on bacterial load on catheter hubs. Three different levels of disinfection (3, 10, and 15 seconds) were analyzed as well as a positive and negative control. All hubs with the exception of the negative controls were contaminated with a 10 bacterial solution and allowed to dry for 24 hours. Through each hub, 1 mL of sterile saline was flushed; a 10-μL calibrated loop was used to plate the flush onto blood agar. Colony counts were performed on the plates after a 24-hour incubation period. Results revealed that the 3 different levels of disinfection duration were not found to differ significantly in reduction in bacterial load. The duration of disinfection did not significantly change the bacterial load on the hub. However, any disinfection duration significantly decreased the bacterial load as compared to the positive control. A larger study would likely detect a significant result among the disinfections.

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