Intravenous literature: Timsit, J.F., Dubois, Y., Minet, C., Bonadona, A., Lugosi, M., Ara-Somohano, C., Hamidfar-Roy, R. and Schwebel, C. (2011) New materials and devices for preventing catheter-related infections. Annals of Intensive Care 2011, 1:34, [epub ahead of print].
Catheters are the leading source of bloodstream infections for patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). Comprehensive unit-based programs have proven to be effective in decreasing catheter-related bloodstream infections (CR-BSIs). ICU rates of CR-BSI higher than 2 per 1,000 catheter-days are no longer acceptable. The locally adapted list of preventive measures should include skin antisepsis with an alcoholic preparation, maximal barrier precautions, a strict catheter maintenance policy, and removal of unnecessary catheters. The development of new technologies capable of further decreasing the now low CR-BSI rate is a major challenge. Recently, new materials that decrease the risk of skin-to-vein bacterial migration, such as new antiseptic dressings, were extensively tested. Antimicrobial-coated catheters can prevent CR-BSI but have a theoretical risk of selecting resistant bacteria. An antimicrobial or antiseptic lock may prevent bacterial migration from the hub to the bloodstream. This review discusses the available knowledge about these new technologies.