UMEM Educational Pearls

Catheter-related bloodstream infections occur in 3-8 percent of insertions, and are the highest cause of nosocomial bloodstream infections in the ICU. 

The most effective measures to prevent catheter-related infections are as follows:

Especially applicable to those of us placing these lines in the ED or in the ICU is the last recommendation, based on a prospective study from Greece

-adequate knowledge and use of care protocols

-qualified personnel involved in changing and care

-use of biomaterials that inhibit microorganism growth and adhesion

-good hand hygiene

-use of an alcoholic formulation of chlorhexidine for skin disinfection and manipulation of the vascular line

-preference for subclavian route for placement

-use of full barrier protection during placement

-removal of unnecessary catheters

-use of ultrasound for placement of central lines


Frasca D, Dahyot-Fizelier C, Mimoz O: Prevention of central venous catheter-related infection in the intensive care unit.  Crit Care; 2010; 14:212

Karakitsos D, Labropoulos N, De Groot E: Real time ultrasound guided catheterisation of the internal jugular vein: A prospective comparison with the landmark technique in critical care patients. Crit Care 2006; 10(6):175.