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J Hosp Infect. 2009 Jun;72(2):169-75. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2009.01.007. Epub 2009 Mar 12.

Evaluation of colonisation of peripheral venous catheters inserted by prehospital emergency service teams (SMUR) in France.

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Service de RĂ©animation G, CHU St Etienne, St Etienne, France.


There are no data in the literature on colonisation of peripheral venous catheters (PVCs) inserted by French prehospital emergency and resuscitation service teams (SMUR). In a descriptive and prospective study we evaluated colonisation of PVCs inserted and managed solely by a SMUR team. A total of 171 PVCs were analysed. Bacteriological results were positive for seven catheters (4.09%/threshold=10(2)cfu/mL). Our analyses of the characteristics of patients and interventions show a significantly higher number of elderly patients among those colonised (P=0.02) with less satisfactory venous access (P=0.006) and smaller catheter bores (P=0.009). No differences were seen regarding the other evaluation criteria: gender, aetiology, site of intervention, number and site of venepuncture procedures, blood pressure and duration of catheterisation. The absolute value of colonisation seen in our study appears consistent with those reported in the literature, but no comparisons are possible due to widely divergent catheterisation times between published work (days) and our own data (minutes). Our results suggest a reassessment of current recommendations of routine changeover of these catheters, with the attendant discomfort for patients and cost in terms of time and money. We recommend a randomised study comparing catheter colonisation levels associated with routine catheter replacement with targeted replacement based on risk factors.

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