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J Clin Microbiol. 1990 Nov;28(11):2520-5.

Prospective multicenter study of vascular-catheter-related complications and risk factors for positive central-catheter cultures in intensive care unit patients.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Bacteriologie, Hotel Dieu, Nantes, France.


To determine the incidence rate of complications associated with vascular catheters in intensive care unit patients and to analyze risk factors for a positive vascular culture, we performed a multicenter study of intensive care unit patients at eight French hospitals. During the study period, 865 intravenous catheters were inserted in 566 patients; 362 (41.8%) were peripheral catheters, and 503 (58.2%) were central catheters. Local complications (i.e., infiltration) occurred significantly more often with peripheral than with central catheters (P less than 0.001); in contrast, fever and bacteremia were significantly more often associated with central than with peripheral catheters (P less than 0.01 and P less than 0.05, respectively). The culture of the vascular-catheter tip was positive for 24% of central catheters (32 of 1,000 catheters days) and for 9% of peripheral catheters (21 of 1,000 catheters days). Staphylococcus epidermidis was the most common microorganism isolated from both peripheral and central catheters, followed by Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. No significant risk factor associated with positive cultures for peripheral catheters was found by univariate analysis. In contrast, the purpose of the cannula (nutrition and monitoring of central venous pressure), the insertion site (jugular), the dressing type (semipermeable transparent dressing), the antiseptic used to prepare the insertion site (povidone iodine), and routine changing of the intravenous administration set were significantly associated with positive cultures of central catheters. Three factors, duration of catheterization, use of a semipermeable transparent dressing, and the jugular insertion site, were found to be independently associated with positive cultures of central catheters by multivariate analysis.

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