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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2007 Mar;59(3):359-69. Epub 2007 Jan 25.

Rifampicin-impregnated central venous catheters: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

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Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences (AIBS), Athens, Greece.



The use of antimicrobial-impregnated central venous catheters (CVCs) for the prevention of CVC microbial colonization and catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI) remains controversial.


We performed a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating CRBSI and colonization of CVCs impregnated with rifampicin-based antimicrobial combinations. Our main analysis compared the occurrence of CRBSI with rifampicin/minocycline-impregnated CVCs with that of non-rifampicin-impregnated CVCs. The PubMed and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases were searched (until October 2006).


Eight RCTs were included in the analysis. The main analysis (seven RCTs) demonstrated that rifampicin/minocycline-impregnated CVCs were associated with fewer CRBSIs compared with catheters not impregnated with rifampicin/minocycline (OR 0.23, 95% CI 0.14-0.40). The same was true regarding colonization (OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.31-0.69). Further analysis, comparing rifampicin-based CVCs with non-rifampicin-impregnated CVCs, demonstrated superiority of rifampicin-based CVCs in reducing colonization (OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.24-0.62) and CRBSI (OR 0.24, 95% CI 0.14-0.40). Similar results, suggesting superiority of rifampicin/minocycline-impregnated CVCs, were noted in a subgroup analysis of colonization and CRBSIs in which rifampicin/minocycline-impregnated CVCs were compared with simple, non-tunnelled, non-antimicrobially impregnated CVCs, a subgroup analysis that was performed by excluding low quality RCTs, and a subgroup analysis for colonization comprising studies in which the sonication technique was used. No serious adverse events and no difference in mortality between the two treatment groups were reported. No clear conclusions can be made regarding the impact of the use of rifampicin/minocycline-impregnated CVCs on the development of antimicrobial resistance based on the available data.


The available evidence suggests that rifampicin/minocycline-impregnated CVCs are safe and effective in reducing the rate of catheter colonization and CRBSI. Further research should focus on the possible development of resistance and on pharmacoeconomic issues related to the use of rifampicin/minocycline-impregnated CVCs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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