OBJECTIVE. To determine the incidence of central venous catheter (CVC)-associated bloodstream infection (CA-BSI) among patients admitted to general medical wards outside the intensive care unit (ICU). DESIGN. Prospective cohort study performed over a 13-month period, from April 1, 2002, through April 30, 2003. SETTING. Four selected general medical wards at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, a 1,250-bed teaching hospital in Saint Louis, Missouri. PATIENTS. All patients admitted to 4 general medical wards. RESULTS. A total of 7,337 catheter-days were observed during 33,174 patient-days. The device utilization ratio (defined as the number of catheter-days divided by the number of patient-days) was 0.22 overall and was similar among the 4 wards (0.21, 0.25, 0.19, and 0.24). Forty-two episodes of CA-BSI were identified (rate, 5.7 infections per 1,000 catheter-days). Twenty-four (57%) of the 42 cases of CA-BSI were caused by gram-positive bacteria: 10 isolates (24%) were coagulase-negative staphylococci, 10 (24%) were Enterococcus species, and 3 (7%) were Staphylococcus aureus. Gram-negative bacteria caused 7 infections (17%). Five CA-BSIs (12%) were caused by Candida albicans, and 5 infections (12%) had a polymicrobial etiology. Thirty-five patients (83%) with CA-BSI had nontunneled CVCs in place. CONCLUSIONS. Non-ICU medical wards in the study hospital had device utilization rates that were considerably lower than those of medical ICUs, but CA-BSI rates were similar to CA-BSI rates in medical ICUs in the United States. Studies of catheter utilization and on CVC insertion and care should be performed on medical wards. CA-BSI prevention strategies that have been used in ICUs should be studied on medical wards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-909
Number of pages5
JournalInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007


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