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COVID-19 prevention measures reduce CLABSI rates – Full Text

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, hygienic precautions for preventing viral transmission have been markedly reinforced" Heidempergher et al (2020).

Background: In hemodialysis (HD) patients, central venous catheter (CVC) related bloodstream infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Hygienic precautions are a key aspect of dialysis care for infection prevention, but they are not sufficient to completely avoid the occurrence of CVC related infections. During the COVID-19 pandemic, hygienic precautions for preventing viral transmission have been markedly reinforced. We evaluated their effects on CVC-related infection rates.

Methods: An observational retrospective study was conducted in two hemodialysis units of the same institution treating 215 chronic hemodialysis patients, 71 of whom are currently (33%) using a CVC. In the CVC cohort, we compared data on catheter-related infection rates during the maximum spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy (February to May 2020) with data from the same period of the previous year and with the whole of 2019.

Results: In 2019, we recorded a catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI) rate of 1.19 (95% CI 0.81-1.68)/1000 days [2.07 (95% CI 1.12-3.52)/1000 days in the Feb-May 2019 period] and a tunnel and exit-site infection rate of 0.82 (95% CI 0.51-1.24)/1000 days [1.04 (95% CI 0.41-2.15)/1000 days in the Feb-May 2019 period]. Infection rates drastically decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic, with just one catheter-related bloodstream infection being recorded. Catheter-related bloodstream infection rates showed a significant reduction to 0.20 (95% CI 0.01-0.9)/1000 days (p < 0.05 and p < 0.005 compared to 2019 and to Feb-May 2019, respectively) and a non-significant reduction in tunnel and exit-site infections to 0.6 (95% CI 0.15-1.6)/1000 days.

Conclusions: The observed 91% reduction in catheter-related bloodstream infections compared to the same period in 2019 and the 83% reduction compared to the whole of 2019 suggest that a stricter implementation of hygienic precautions in the dialysis setting can markedly improve the problem of CVC-related infections.


Heidempergher M, Sabiu G, Orani MA, Tripepi G, Gallieni M. Targeting COVID-19 prevention in hemodialysis facilities is associated with a drastic reduction in central venous catheter-related infections. J Nephrol. 2020 Dec 28:1–9. doi: 10.1007/s40620-020-00900-3. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33369726; PMCID: PMC7768271.