Catheter-associated bloodstream infection in the pediatric intensive care unit: A multidisciplinary approach*

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Catheter-associated bloodstream infections have been reported to occur in 3% to 8% of all central venous catheters inserted and are the predominant cause of hospital-acquired infection in intensive care units.


Decreasing the pediatric intensive care unit rate of catheter-associated bloodstream infections became a high priority in 2008 for all members of the intensive care unit team affiliated with central venous catheter insertion and maintenance.


Through a series of multidisciplinary initiatives, the annual average catheter-associated bloodstream infection rate in the pediatric intensive care unit fell from 7.9 infections per 1000 central catheter days in 2007 to 1.3 infections per 1000 central catheter days in 2009, a decrease of 83%. We attribute this success to the implementation of several key interventions, adherence to published insertion and maintenance bundles, and collaboration among pediatric intensive care unit physicians and nurses in all aspects of central catheter care.

Measurements and Main Results:

Statistically significant interventions included improvements to central venous catheter insertion practices, the development of a dedicated central catheter team, and regular collaborative discussion of central venous catheter necessity. In this 24-month period, this equates to 50 catheter-associated infections avoided, six potential deaths prevented, and an estimated cost savings of $1.45 million (based on $29,000 per infection).


While implementation of these and other interventions has shown a positive impact, this project will continue into the future to assure sustainable successes and continued best practice improvements.

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