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Dialysis patients are at risk of getting Hepatitis B and C infections and bloodstream infections. Of particular concern in the dialysis setting is the fact that Hepatitis B and C viruses can live on surfaces like dialysis chairs and machines and can be spread even with no visible blood.
clinician using laptop
Bloodstream infections are a dangerous complication of dialysis. In the U.S., there are about 370,000 people relying on hemodialysis care. About 75,000 people receive hemodialysis through a central line. Central lines have a higher risk of infection than a fistula or graft. The CDC estimates that 37,000 central line-associated bloodstream infections may have occurred in U.S. hemodialysis patients in 2008.

During dialysis, infections like Hepatitis B and C and bloodstream infections are spread from patient to patient most commonly by the hands of healthcare workers. To prevent the spread of infections, clinicians who work in dialysis should understand and follow the basics of infection control as a routine part of their practice. The resources on this page are designed to help dialysis clinicians understand the basics of infection control.

Basic steps clinicians can take to prevent infections in hemodialysis patients include:

  • Promote fistula use
  • Get catheters out
  • Improve catheter care
  • Clean hands before and after every patient contact
  • Talk to patients about good vascular access care

Training Video and Print Resources for Preventing Infections in Outpatient Hemodialysis Patients – CDC has created a video for frontline dialysis staff along with an accompanying poster for staff and pocket card for patients that convey best practices for preventing bloodstream and other infections in hemodialysis outpatients.

CDC’s Core Interventions for Dialysis BSI Prevention - In an effort to decrease rates of bloodstream infections among hemodialysis patients, the CDC Dialysis Bloodstream Infection Prevention Collaborative has developed a set of interventions that participating facilities have implemented.

Safe Injection Practices: Protecting Yourself and Your Patients – Healthcare providers or training managers who need to keep staff current on bloodborne pathogens training can now use this training, which was created to remind healthcare providers that measures they take to protect themselves from bloodborne pathogens and other exposures also protect patients from healthcare-associated infections. This training activity is supplemental to the required annual bloodborne pathogens training for healthcare personnel.

Safe Injection Practices – How to Do it Right – Healthcare providers and patients who want to understand how to properly use single-dose vials will benefit from viewing a new, unique animated video. This video highlights the importance of using single-dose vials one time for one patient by following the story of Joe, a patient who ended up in the hospital with an infection as a result of unsafe injection practices.

Continuing Education Infection Prevention in Dialysis Settings for outpatient hemodialysis healthcare workers

Continuing Education:
Infection Prevention in Dialysis Settings


Priti Patel, MD, MPHCDC Medscape Commentary:
Protecting Patients from Bloodstream Infections [ 3:54 ]

March 1, 2011

clinician holding a checklistPrevention Tools:
Audit Tools, Protocols and Checklists


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