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Clin Nutr. 2013 Feb;32(1):16-26. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2012.08.004. Epub 2012 Aug 21.

Epidemiology of catheter-related infections in adult patients receiving home parenteral nutrition: a systematic review.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, Research Centre for Clinical Pharmacy, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. mira.dreesen@uzleuven.be



Catheter-related infection (CRI) is the most common and serious complication for adult patients receiving home parenteral nutrition (HPN). Our aim is to provide epidemiological data on infection incidence, infecting pathogens and contributing risk factors.


Four electronic databases (Embase, Medline, IPA, CINAHL) were screened for eligible studies published between 1970 and March 2012. Methodological quality was evaluated and terminology/definitions were re-categorized.


Thirty-nine studies were included. Extensive variability was observed in terminology/definitions as well as in expression of CRI rate. After correct interpretation of definitions, overall catheter-related bloodstream infection rate (CRBSI) ranged between 0.38 and 4.58 episodes/1000 catheter days (median 1.31). Gram-positive bacteria of human skin flora caused more than half of infections. An analysis of the reported risk factors showed that the origin of a CRBSI is often multifactorial. The risk factors were related to the patient, the venous access device, the education, HPN therapy and follow-up.


This review on CRI in adult HPN patients revealed that included studies are of low quality and used poorly described risk factors and different definitions. The human skin flora caused most of infections; therefore, hand hygiene and training remain essential.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd and European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism. All rights reserved.

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