Central Catheter–Associated Bloodstream Infection Reduction With Ethanol Lock Prophylaxis in Pediatric Intestinal Failure: Broadening Quality Improvement Initiatives From Hospital to Home

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Children with intestinal failure are at high risk for developing central catheter–associated bloodstream infections (CCABSIs) owing to children’s chronic dependence on central venous catheters for parenteral nutrition.


To evaluate the effectiveness and safety of the addition of ethanol lock prophylaxis to a best-practice CCABSI prevention bundle on hospital and ambulatory CCABSI rates in children with intestinal failure.

Design, Setting, and Participants

Quality improvement and statistical process control analysis that took place at a tertiary care pediatric hospital and patient homes. Participants included children who were 18 years or younger with intestinal failure requiring a central venous catheter.


Central catheter–associated bloodstream infection prevention bundle that included daily ethanol lock prophylaxis.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Central catheter–associated bloodstream infection rates and safety outcomes (central catheter insertions, repairs, and hospitalizations) before (January 1, 2011-January 31, 2012) and after (February 1, 2012-December 31, 2013) ethanol lock prophylaxis bundle implementation.


Twenty-four children with intestinal failure received the ethanol lock prophylaxis CCABSI prevention bundle for a median of 266 days (range, 12-635 days). Rates of CCABSI decreased from 6.99 CCABSIs per 1000 catheter days at baseline to 0.42 CCABSI per 1000 catheter days after ethanol lock prophylaxis bundle implementation, despite an increase in the total number of catheter days. A subset of 14 children who received prolonged ethanol lock prophylaxis (≥3 months) had fewer median (range) central catheter insertions 0 (0-2) vs 3 (0-6); P = .001. The pre-ELP intervention CCABSI rates in this subset was 7.01 per 1000 catheter days vs 0.64 per 1000 catheter days for post-ELP intervention (P = .004). There were no significant differences in the total number of hospital admissions; however, there were fewer hospitalizations for fever and CCABSI (P = .003).

Conclusions and Relevance

A best-practice CCABSI prevention bundle that included ethanol lock prophylaxis in both the hospital and home was successfully implemented, well tolerated, and demonstrated a significant and sustained reduction in preventable harm in the form of CCABSIs in children with intestinal failure.

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