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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2008 May;23(5):1666-72. Epub 2007 Dec 8.

Preventing haemodialysis catheter-related bacteraemia with an antimicrobial lock solution: a meta-analysis of prospective randomized trials.

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Department of Nephrology, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Université catholique de Louvain, Avenue Hippocrate 10, B 1200 Brussels, Belgium.



Catheter-related bacteraemia (CRB) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in haemodialysis patients. Interdialytic locking of catheters with antimicrobial agents has recently been investigated for the prevention of CRB. We performed a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCT) to determine the efficacy of antimicrobial lock solutions (ALS) in the prevention of CRB in haemodialysis patients.


We collected from Medline, Web of Science, the Cochrane Library and major nephrology journals, all relevant references (January 1990-March 2007). We selected RCT comparing an ALS to a standard heparin lock in CRB prevention. We extracted data concerning study quality, patient characteristics and CRB incidence. The relative risk (RR) of CRB was calculated as Ln (CRB incidence control/CRB incidence experimental) using both a fixed- and a random-effects model.


Eight studies were included, involving 829 patients, 882 catheters and 90 191 catheter-days. The use of an ALS significantly decreased the risk of CRB (RR 0.32; 95% CI 0.10-0.42). Borderline heterogeneity was observed in the fixed-effects model (Q = 14.42; P = 0.071). Despite the under-representation of small negative studies, the high number of additional trials necessary to reverse the final effect strengthens the confidence in the overall results. Subgroup analyses stratified by the presence of diabetes, duration of follow-up, biochemical markers, proportion of tunnelled cuffed catheters, intranasal mupirocin use and citrate use in the ALS did not show significant differences, except a higher efficacy of gentamicin-containing lock solutions (P = 0.003).


The use of ALS reduces by about a factor 3 the risk of CRB in haemodialysis patients. The achieved absolute incidence is similar to the best-published figures (presumably related to stricter hygienic measures). The limited follow-up of the studies does not exclude the onset of adverse events or bacterial resistance with longer use of ALS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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