Nosocomial infections in dialysis access

Alexander Schweiger, Sergio Trevino, Jonas Marschall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Nosocomial infections in patients requiring renal replacement therapy have a high impact on morbidity and mortality. The most dangerous complication is bloodstream infection (BSI) associated with the vascular access, with a low BSI risk in arteriovenous fistulas or grafts and a comparatively high risk in central venous catheters. The single most important measure for preventing BSI is therefore the reduction of catheter use by means of early fistula formation. As this is not always feasible, prevention should focus on educational efforts, hand hygiene, surveillance of dialysis-associated events, and specific measures at and after the insertion of catheters. Core measures at the time of insertion include choosing the optimal site of insertion, the use of maximum sterile barrier precautions, adequate skin antisepsis, and the choice of catheter type; after insertion, access care needs to ensure hub disinfection and regular dressing changes. The application of antimicrobial locks is reserved for special situations. Evidence suggests that bundling a selection of the aforementioned measures can significantly reduce infection rates. The diagnosis of central line-associated BSI (CLABSI) is based on clinical signs and microbiological findings in blood cultures ideally drawn both peripherally and from the catheter. The prompt installation of empiric antibiotic treatment covering the most commonly encountered organisms is key regarding CLABSI treatment. Catheter removal is recommended in complicated cases or if cultures yield Staphylococcus aureus, enterococci, Pseudomonas or fungi. In other cases, guide wire exchange or catheter salvage strategies with antibiotic lock solutions may be acceptable alternatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-221
Number of pages17
JournalContributions to Nephrology
StatePublished - 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Nosocomial infections in dialysis access'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this