Guidelines for the Prevention of Intravascular Catheter-Related Infections (2011)

In the United States, 15 million central vascular catheter (CVC) days (i.e., the total number of days of exposure to CVCs among all patients in the selected population during the selected time period) occur in intensive care units (ICUs) each year [1]. Studies have variously addressed catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSI). These infections independently increase hospital costs and length of stay [2-5], but have not generally been shown to independently increase mortality. While 80,000 CRBSIs occur in ICUs each year [1], a total of 250,000 cases of BSIs have been estimated to occur annually, if entire hospitals are assessed [6]. By several analyses, the cost of these infections is substantial, both in terms of morbidity and financial resources expended. To improve patient outcome and to reduce healthcare costs, there is considerable interest by healthcare providers, insurers, regulators, and patient advocates in reducing the incidence of these infections. This effort should be multidisciplinary, involving healthcare professionals who order the insertion and removal of CVCs, those personnel who insert and maintain intravascular catheters, infection control personnel, healthcare managers including the chief executive officer (CEO) and those who allocate resources, and patients who are capable of assisting in the care of their catheters.

The goal of an effective prevention program should be the elimination of CRBSI from all patient-care areas. Although this is challenging, programs have demonstrated success, but sustained elimination requires continued effort. The goal of the measures discussed in this document is to reduce the rate to as low as feasible given the specific patient population being served, the universal presence of microorganisms in the human environment, and the limitations of current strategies and technologies.