Catheter-associated bloodstream infections: Looking outside of the ICU

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Background: Current recommendations for the prevention of central venous catheter-associated bloodstream infections (CA-BSIs) are mostly based on data from intensive care units (ICUs). The rates of CA-BSIs appear to be higher in non-ICU wards. Until this year, no published data were available on non-ICU CA-BSIs in the United States. This article is a summary of a talk given at an industry-sponsored conference on CA-BSIs. It summarizes an original article of ours previously published in a peer-reviewed journal. Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the rate of CA-BSIs in non-ICU medical patients by developing a prospective surveillance program in a major tertiary care hospital. All positive blood cultures electronically detected from April 1, 2002, to April 30, 2003, were reviewed and clinical data collected by chart review. Definitions: Catheter utilization ratio = total number of days with a central venous catheter (CVC)/total number of patient-days; catheter-associated BSIs = defined by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, eg, a patient had to have a catheter at least 48 hours before detection of infection; CA-BSI rate = CA-BSIs/1000 catheter-days. Results: The 13-month study included 7337 catheter-days and 33,174 patient-days. The overall catheter-utilization ratio was 0.22 (range, 0.19-0.25). Of 42 cases of CA-BSIs, gram-positive organisms were recovered in 24 (57%); gram-negative bacteria in 7 (17%); and Candida spp in 6 (14%). The CA-BSI rate was 5.7 (95% confidence interval: 3.4-8.0) and varied from 4.3 to 8.0. There were no significant differences in CA-BSI rates among the wards (χ2 for linear trend, 0.42; P = .52). The overall rate of CA-BSIs decreased steadily during the study period, from 7.8 during the first 6 months to 3.9 during the following 7 months, representing a rate ratio of 0.5 (95% confidence interval: 0.27-0.93). Conclusion: Benchmark data for hospital infections in the non-ICU setting are starting to become available and efforts to improve care may have greater impact here than in the ICU. Upon patient transfer out of the ICU, it should be determined whether the catheter can be removed. Educational measures targeted at non-ICU wards are warranted. First results of computer-assisted methods to facilitate surveillance of larger number of patients are promising. The Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee recommends that CA-BSIs be publicly reported. CA-BSIs in non-ICU patients could soon be part of a mandatory reporting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S172.e5-S172.e8
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2008


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