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Prevention of intravascular catheter-related infections

Jeffrey D Band, MD, FACP, FIDSA
Robert Gaynes, MD
Section Editor
Anthony Harris, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
Elinor L Baron, MD, DTMH


Infection, phlebitis, and, less often, bacteremia remain a major problem with intravascular catheters [1]. The majority of serious catheter-related bloodstream infections are associated with central venous catheters (CVCs), particularly those placed in an intensive care unit [2]. CVC-related bloodstream infection is likely if a primary bloodstream infection develops in a patient who had a CVC within the 48-hour period before the development of the bloodstream infection. If the time interval is longer than 48 hours, there must be compelling evidence that the infection was related to the vascular access device. (See "Epidemiology, pathogenesis, and microbiology of intravascular catheter infections".)

Strict adherence to hand hygiene recommendations and the use of aseptic techniques during insertion and dressing changes remain the most important measures for the prevention of catheter-associated infections. These measures are emphasized in guidelines from the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and working groups composed of members from professional organizations representing a variety of medical disciplines [2-6].

Other preventive measures include:

Choosing appropriate sites for catheter insertion

Using the appropriate type of catheter material


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Aug 26, 2016.
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