A Prospective, Randomized Evaluation of the Effect of Silver Impregnated Subcutaneous Cuffs for Preventing Tunneled Chronic Venous Access Catheter Infections in Cancer Patients

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ObjectiveThis study was performed to evaluate the effect of a silver-impregnated cuff on the incidence of catheter-related bacteremia/fungemia or tunnel tract infection in cancer patients with chronic dual-lumen tunneled venous access catheters.Summary Background DataInfection is a frequent and potentially life-threatening complication of tunneled chronic cuffed silastic central venous access catheters in cancer patients. Recent experience with antimicrobial silver-impregnated cuffs placed on nontunneled percutaneously inserted central venous catheters suggests that such a cuff may render the catheter less prone to infection.MethodsThe authors prospectively randomized 200 cancer patients to receive either a dual-lumen 10 French tunneled cuffed silastic central venous access catheter or the same catheter with a second more proximal subcutaneous silver-impregnated cuff. All patients then were followed prospectively for infectious morbidity until the device was removed or the patient died.ResultsThe hazard rate for infection/day (95% confidence limits) was 0.0022 (0.0015 to 0.0030) for standard catheters compared with 0.0027 (0.0019 to 0.0037) for catheters with silver-impregnated cuffs (p = not significant). Regression analysis of infection-free Interval of both catheter types shows no difference over the lifetime of catheter as well as the over the first 48 days after insertion.ConclusionsThe study indicated no effect of a silver-impregnated cuff in decreasing the incidence of catheter-related bacteremias/fungemias, tunnel infections, or the spectrum of causative microorganisms involved in cancer patients with tunneled chronic venous access catheters.

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