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Changing central line part could cut CLABSIs

Friday September 13, 2013
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Simply replacing the connector in the IV system in patients with central lines could help reduce deadly bloodstream infections, according to a recent study.

Nearly 250,000 central line-associated bloodstream infections happen in hospitals each year, according to the CDC. CLABSI mortality rates range from 12% to 25%, and treating them costs healthcare systems billions of dollars a year.

“We know that both positive and negative needleless connectors have been associated with higher CLABSI rates, so we decided to see what role a zero fluid displacement connector would play in infection control,” corresponding author Cynthia C. Chernecky, RN, PhD, professor of nursing at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, said in a news release. The study’s findings were published Aug. 23 on the website of the American Journal of Infection Control.

Researchers analyzed data in six acute care settings in five states, and found the number of infections decreased by 60% when positive connectors were replaced with zero fluid displacement connectors and by 94% when negative connectors were replaced with the zero connectors for central line IV therapy.

“We estimate that replacing the connector devices saved about 13 lives in the acute care settings in this study,” Chernecky said in the release. The swap also saved more than $3 million in healthcare costs. The average CLABSI costs about $35,000 to treat. Zero connectors cost about $1 a piece, according to Chernecky, so the switch is a cost-effective way to improve patient safety.

Chernecky and coauthors Thomas Joshua, MS; Denise Macklin, RN,C, BSN, VA-BC; and William R. Jarvis, MD; said even though the results are promising, more research is needed.

“Central line-associated bloodstream infections can be deadly, so we must continue to investigate best practices to reduce risks and protect patients,” Chernecky said in the release.

Study abstract: http://bit.ly/15nTK9j.


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