CDC guidelines on catheter-related infections - Brief Article

Author: Carrie Morantz, Brian Torrey
Date: Sept 15, 2003

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued evidence-based guidelines on preventing intravascular catheter-related infections. The recommendations are available online at

The incidence of catheter-related bloodstream infections varies considerably by type of catheter used, frequency of manipulation, and patient-related factors such as underlying disease and acuity of illness. Although the incidence of local or bloodstream infections associated with peripheral venous catheters usually is low, severe complications with considerable mortality have been associated with this type of catheter because of the frequency with which it is used. The majority of serious catheter-related infections are associated with central venous catheters, especially those that are placed in patients in intensive-care units.

The recommendations emphasize the following strategies:

* Educating and training health care professionals who insert and maintain catheters.

* Using sterile barrier precautions during catheter insertion.

* Using a 2 percent chlorhexidine preparation for skin antisepsis.

* Avoiding routine replacement of central venous catheters as a strategy to prevent infection.

* Using antiseptic- or antibiotic-impregnated short-term central venous catheters if the infection rate remains high despite adherence to other strategies.

The recommendations also identify performance indicators that health care institutions and organizations can use to monitor their success in implementing the recommendations.

COPYRIGHT 2003 American Academy of Family PhysiciansCOPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

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