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Support Care Cancer. 1999 Nov;7(6):386-90.

Intravascular catheters impregnated with antimicrobial agents: a milestone in the prevention of bloodstream infections.

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The University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Section of Infection Control, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Vascular catheters impregnated with antimicrobial agents have been shown to decrease the risk of catheter-related colonization and bloodstream infections. Various antimicrobials and antiseptics have been used. In a recent meta-analysis of 12 studies, catheters coated with chlorhexidine and silver sulfadiazine (CH/SS) were shown to be significantly less likely to be associated with catheter-related bloodstream infections than uncoated catheters. However, these catheters were coated only on the external surface and they are associated with short antimicrobial durability (3-7 days). In addition, anaphylactic reactions to them were reported in Japan. Vascular catheters impregnated with minocycline and rifampin (M/R) were found to be highly efficacious in preventing catheter-related infections. In a recent prospective, randomized trial, the likelihood of catheter-related bloodstream infections associated with the use of M/R catheters was one-twelfth of that observed with catheters coated with CH/SS. The M/R catheters are coated on the external and internal surfaces and have an antimicrobial durability of 4 weeks. Although no resistance to either minocycline or rifampin has been seen in two trials, further studies are required to determine whether the risk of resistance outweighs the benefits derived from their use. In conclusion, antimicrobial catheters have been shown to be highly cost effective in decreasing the risk of catheter-related bloodstream infection.

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