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Chest. 1999 Jun;115(6):1632-40.

Decreasing catheter colonization through the use of an antiseptic-impregnated catheter: a continuous quality improvement project.

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Department of Medical Education, Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, Roanoke, VA 24033, USA.



To evaluate the use of an antiseptic-impregnated (chlorhexidine and silver sulfadiazine) catheter for the prevention of catheter colonization and catheter-related bloodstream infection (CR-BSI). Then, based on these findings, to implement changes in hospital policy and to assess their effect on a hospital service.


Prospective, randomized, controlled (phase I); prospective, concurrent data collection (phase II).


Tertiary referral hospital with level 1 trauma center.


Patients > 12 years of age with central venous catheters placed while they were in the emergency room, neurotrauma ICU, or medical/surgical ICU from May through December, 1995 (phase I). All patients > 12 years of age on the trauma service admitted from November 16, 1996, through November 15, 1997 (phase II).


Randomization table determined whether the patient would receive an antiseptic-impregnated catheter (AIC) or nonimpregnated catheter (NIC) (phase I). All removed or exchanged catheters were sent for semiquantitative culture. In phase II, only AICs were used; "length of time" and "fever" were discouraged as reasons for catheter exchange or removal; and only the tip was sent for culture.


In phase I, there were 139 catheters placed in 60 patients in the NIC group and 98 catheters placed in 55 patients in the AIC group. Two catheters (2.0/100 catheters) in the AIC group were found to be colonized, compared with 25 (18.0/100 catheters) in the NIC group (p = 0.001). The catheter colonization rates were 2.27/1,000 catheter days (AIC) and 24.68/1,000 catheter days (NIC) (p < 0.001), while the CR-BSI rates were 1.14/1,000 catheter days (AIC) and 3.9.5/1,000 catheter days (NIC) (p = 0.31). The reason for each catheter removal/exchange was noted, and only "positive blood culture" was statistically significant overall. The tip segment was found to be positive more often than the intracutaneous segment. In phase II, there were 213 AICs placed in 101 patients. The colonization rate was 3.8/100 catheters (4.52/1,000 catheter days), and CR-BSI rate was 1.0/100 catheters (0.6/1,000 catheter days). The colonization rate for catheters left in place remained low for catheters left in place < 14 days (1.6/100 catheters). Only 11% of catheters were exchanged/removed for reason of "fever," as compared with 23% in phase I.


AICs significantly reduce the rate of central venous catheter colonization. In addition, the apparent protective effects of the catheter over time permit less frequent exchanges or removals of the catheters, decreasing both patient risk and hospital cost.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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