Chlorhexidine bathing to reduce central venous catheter-associated bloodstream infection


Intravenous literature: Montecalvo, M.A., McKenna, D., Yarrish, R., Mack, L., Maguire, G., Haas, J., Delorenzo, L., Dellarocco, N., Savatteri, B., Rosenthal, A., Watson, A., Spicehandler, D., Shi, Q., Visintainer, P. and Wormser, G.P. (2012) Chlorhexidine Bathing to Reduce Central Venous Catheter-associated Bloodstream Infection: Impact and Sustainability. The American Journal of Medicine. 125(5), p.505-11.


BACKGROUND: Chlorhexidine bathing has been associated with reductions in healthcare-associated bloodstream infection. To determine the impact and sustainability of the effect of chlorhexidine bathing on central venous catheter-associated bloodstream infection, we performed a prospective, 3-phase, multiple-hospital study.

METHODS: In the medical intensive care unit and the respiratory care unit of a tertiary care hospital and the medical-surgical intensive care units of 4 community hospitals, rates of central venous catheter-associated bloodstream infection were collected prospectively for each period. Pre-intervention (phase 1) patients were bathed with soap and water or nonmedicated bathing cloths; active intervention (phase 2) patients were bathed with 2% chlorhexidine gluconate cloths with the number of baths administered and skin tolerability assessed; post-intervention (phase 3) chlorhexidine bathing was continued but without oversight by research personnel. Central venous catheter-associated bloodstream infection rates were compared over study periods using Poisson regression.

RESULTS: Compared with pre-intervention, during active intervention there were significantly fewer central venous catheter-associated bloodstream infections (6.4/1000 central venous catheter days vs 2.6/1000 central venous catheter days, relative risk, 0.42; 95% confidence interval, 0.25-0.68; P<.001), and this reduction was sustained during post-intervention (2.9/1000 central venous catheter days; relative risk, 0.46; 95% confidence interval, 0.30-0.70; P<.001). During the active intervention period, compliance with chlorhexidine bathing was 82%. Few adverse events were observed.

CONCLUSION: In this multiple-hospital study, chlorhexidine bathing was associated with significant reductions in central venous catheter-associated bloodstream infection, and these reductions were sustained post-intervention when chlorhexidine bathing was unmonitored. Chlorhexidine bathing was well tolerated and is a useful adjunct to reduce central venous catheter-associated bloodstream infection.

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