The source, cost and prevention of central venous catheter-related infection
Studies relating to the source of microorganisms causing CVC-associated infection, the cost of such infections and the efficacy of an antimicrobial catheter have been undertaken. Thirty patients who required a CVC as part of their medical management and underwent cardiac surgery had the distal tips of their catheters sampled whilst in situ. Sampling took place within 1 h of catheter placement. Bacteria were isolated from 16% of the catheter distal tips sampled in situ. The guidewires used to insert the devices were also contaminated (50%). When CVC were inserted via a protective sheath, avoiding contact with the skin, the incidence of microbial contamination was reduced. These findings suggest that despite rigorous skin disinfection and strict aseptic technique, viable microorganisms are impacted onto the distal tip of CVC during the insertion procedure. Needleless intravascular access devices have been introduced in order to reduce the incidence of needlestick injury. However, it was unclear whether such connectors would act as a portal of entry for microorganisms to CVC. The efficacy of these devices was investigated. Within the controlled laboratory environment it was demonstrated that needleless devices, when challenged with microorganisms, did not allow the passage of microbes when fluid was injected. This therefore suggested that the devices should not increase the risk of catheter colonisation. When used in clinical practice however, microbial contamination of the needleless connectors was 55 %, in comparison to the routinely used luer connectors (23%). The cost of infections associated with CVC was determined. Twenty patients catheterised with a CVC designed for long term use who were admitted to hospital with a presumptive diagnosis of catheter-related infection were studied. The treatment given specifically for this infection was costed. The mean cost of such an infection was £1781.81. Throughout the UK this may amount to £2.565.906 per annum. The cost of infections associated with CVC designed for short term use was estimated to be between 5 and 7 million pounds per annum in the UK.