Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections (CLABSI)

Patients who need frequent intravenous (IV) medications, blood, fluid replacement and/or nutrition may have a central venous catheter, or central line, placed into one of their major veins. Central lines are commonly used in intensive care units or when a patient needs to receive IV medication for an extended period of time.

Central lines may cause infections when bacteria grow in the line and enter the patient's bloodstream. CLABSIs can be prevented by following recommended infection control practices when inserting and taking care of the line.

Recommended central line insertion practices include:

  • hand hygiene
  • appropriate skin antiseptic
  • maximal sterile barrier precautions
  • aseptic technique
  • checklist to ensure all steps are followed

Recommended central line maintenance practices include:

  • hand hygiene before and after touching the line or the line dressing
  • aseptic technique when changing line dressings
  • removing a central line as soon as it is no longer needed. The sooner a catheter is removed, the less likely the chance of infection.
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