Prolonged exposure to central venous access devices carries significant risk of device-associated bloodstream infection (BSI), which is associated with morbidity, added health care costs, and attributable mortality. We aimed to determine the efficacy of vancomycin-heparin lock or flush solution in preventing BSI in patients being treated with long-term central venous intravascular devices (IVDs).Methods.
We collected data from January 1966 to January 2006 from multiple computerized databases and compiled reference lists of identified articles. We identified prospective, randomized controlled trials comparing a vancomycin-heparin lock or flush solution with heparin alone for prevention of BSI associated with long-term central venous IVDs. Using a standardized form, we abstracted data regarding study quality, patient characteristics, and incidence of BSI.Results.
Seven randomized, controlled trials involving a total of 463 patients being treated with IVDs met the inclusion criteria; 5 studies were conducted among patients with cancer, 1 among a critically ill neonatal population, and 1 among patients with cancer or who required parenteral nutrition. We could not detect publication bias. The summary risk ratio with a vancomycin heparin-lock solution for IVD-associated BSI was 0.49 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.26-0.95; P = .03). Results of the test for heterogeneity were statistically significant; however, when a single study was removed from the analysis, heterogeneity was no longer present. Use of vancomycin as a true lock solution—instilling it for a defined period, rather than simply flushing it directly through the device—conferred a much greater benefit, with a risk ratio of 0.34 (95% CI, 0.12-0.98; P = .04). The 2 studies that performed prospective surveillance cultures to identify colonization or infection by vancomycin-resistant organisms did not find an increased risk.Conclusions.
Use of a vancomycin lock solution in high-risk patient populations being treated with long-term central IVDs reduces the risk of BSI. The use of an anti-infective lock solution warrants consideration for patients who require central access but who are at high risk of BSI, such as patients with malignancy or low-birthweight neonates.