Intravenous literature: Scheithauer, S., Lewalter, K., Schröder, J., Koch, A., Häfner, H., Krizanovic, V., Nowicki, K., Hilgers, R.D. and Lemmen, S.W. (2013) Reduction of central venous line-associated bloodstream infection rates by using a chlorhexidine-containing dressing. Infection. August 9th. [Epub ahead of print].
PURPOSE: The reduction of central venous line (CVL)-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) is generally advocated. However, despite implementing infection prevention recommendations, CLABSI rates remain high at some institutions. Therefore, a chlorhexidine-containing dressing should be assessed for its potential for infection reduction, adverse events (AEs) and practicability.
METHODS: The number of CVLs, CVL days, CLABSIs and CLABSI rates with regard to the kind of dressing (standard vs. chlorhexidine-containing) were documented from November 2010 to may 2012 (1,298 patients with 12,220 CVL days) at two intensive care units (ICUs) and compared to historical controls. The practicability and safety of the chlorhexidine-containing dressing and reasons for not using this dressing were assessed.
RESULTS: Forty CLABSIs occurred in 34 patients, resulting in a significantly lower overall CLABSI rate in patients with the chlorhexidine-containing dressing [1.51/1,000 CVL days; confidence interval (CI): 0.75-2.70] compared to patients with the standard dressing (5.87/1,000 CVL days; CI: 3.93-8.43; p < 0.0001). The CLABSI rate in historical controls receiving the standard dressing was 6.2/1,000 CVL days. The main reason for not using chlorhexidine-containing dressing was bleeding at the insertion site. AEs occurred in five patients and represented self-healing skin macerations (3 cases) and superficial skin necrosis (2 cases).
CONCLUSIONS: In case of high CLABSI rates despite the implementation of standard recommendations, our findings suggest that a chlorhexidine-containing dressing safely decreases CLABSI rates.