Preventing Catheter-Related Bloodstream Infections in Intensive Care Units

2286 Words 10 Pages
Central venous catheters, usually called CVCs, are extremely important for patients in any type of intensive care unit. It is because of their crucial role in the care of these patients that their troublesome risk of catheter-related bloodstream infections, sometimes referred to as CR-BSIs, has developed into such a problem. There are approximately 80,000 CR-BSIs diagnosed each year in the United States alone. These infections lead to nearly 28,000 patient deaths in intensive care units. Not only is this a dreadful loss of life; it is also incredibly expensive. Extra care and treatment for a patient suffering from a CR-BSI can cost an average of $45,000. In fact, these infections can cost as much as $2.3 billion for the United States each …show more content…
They also require the use of a full-size sterile drape around the insertion site. Previously, the only precautions taken when dealing with the insertion of CVCs were the use of sterile gloves and a small regional sterile drape. The maximal sterile barriers procedure is much more time consuming than the original method, so we must find how well these strict techniques work in comparison to previous techniques (Hu, Veenstra, Lipsky, & Saint, 2004). If there is little or no improvement, there would seem to be no reason behind spending the extra time and money on the maximal sterile barriers. There are four criteria for comparison that should play a large role in the decision between the two techniques: infection rates, cost effectiveness, likelihood of those implementing maximal sterile barriers also using other safety precautions, and survival rate and/or mortality rate.
Infection Rates The implementation of maximal sterile barriers to replace the older, more lenient techniques can significantly lower infection rates. The improved infection rates have been consistent for different age groups, just as the rate of CR-BSIs are consistent for the different age groups. For example, the Neonatal intensive care unit at George Washington University Hospital tried to implement more strict sterilization techniques after discovering that their rate of CR-BSIs was nearly twice the national average provided by The National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance
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