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Int J Infect Dis. 1998 Apr-Jun;2(4):230-6.

Catheter-related infection: an update on diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

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Servei de Malalties Infeccioses, Hospital General Vall d'Hebrón, Barcelona, Spain.


Catheter-related infection (CRI) accounts for a large percentage of nosocomial infections, and related bacteremia is a common complication. Bacteremia arises in approximately 1 of 15 episodes of CRI and causes considerable morbidity and occasional mortality, as well as increased medical costs. The diagnosis of CRI and catheter-related bacteremia (CRB) is still a challenge for practitioners treating catheterized patients. Semiquantitative tip culture by the roll-plate method is the cornerstone for diagnosis of CRI in routine practice. However, there is a great deal of interest in the alternative methods for diagnosing CRI without catheter withdrawal, since treatment of the patient can be successfully completed with the infected device maintained in place. The conservative management of CRI includes perfusion of antibiotics through the infected catheter and the antibiotic-lock technique (ALT). Catheter-related infection prevention is accomplished mainly by strict adherence to hygienic practices in insertion and manipulation of the catheter. However, knowledge of the pathophysiology of CRI has led to the development of new sophisticated catheters and hubs that incorporate mechanical and antibacterial barriers.

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