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Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2009 Jul;30(7):645-51. doi: 10.1086/598341.

Prevention of central venous catheter-associated bloodstream infections in pediatric intensive care units: a performance improvement collaborative.

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  • 1University of Washington School of Medicine, Division of Pediatric Critical Care, Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, WA 98105, USA.



The goal of this effort was to reduce central venous catheter (CVC)-associated bloodstream infections (BSIs) in pediatric intensive care unit (ICU) patients by means of a multicenter evidence-based intervention.


An observational study was conducted in 26 freestanding children's hospitals with pediatric or cardiac ICUs that joined a Child Health Corporation of America collaborative. CVC-associated BSI protocols were implemented using a collaborative process that included catheter insertion and maintenance bundles, daily review of CVC necessity, and daily goals. The primary goal was either a 50% reduction in the CVC-associated BSI rate or a rate of 1.5 CVC-associated BSIs per 1,000 CVC-days in each ICU at the end of a 9-month improvement period. A 12-month sustain period followed the initial improvement period, with the primary goal of maintaining the improvements achieved.


The collaborative median CVC-associated BSI rate decreased from 6.3 CVC-associated BSIs per 1,000 CVC-days at the start of the collaborative to 4.3 CVC-associated BSIs per 1,000 CVC-days at the end of the collaborative. Sixty-five percent of all participants documented a decrease in their CVC-associated BSI rate. Sixty-nine CVC-associated BSIs were prevented across all teams, with an estimated cost avoidance of $2.9 million. Hospitals were able to sustain their improvements during a 12-month sustain period and prevent another 198 infections.


We conclude that our collaborative quality improvement project demonstrated that significant reduction in CVC-associated BSI rates and related costs can be realized by means of evidence-based prevention interventions, enhanced communication among caregivers, standardization of CVC insertion and maintenance processes, enhanced measurement, and empowerment of team members to enforce adherence to best practices.

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