A central line is a tube (catheter) that is placed into a large vein, usually in the neck, chest, arm or groin. This catheter is often used to draw blood, or deliver fluids or medications to the patient. A bloodstream infection can occur when bacteria travel down a central line and enter the blood.
What are we doing to reduce central line-associated bloodstream infections?
To prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections, our doctors, nurses and other health care providers:
- Choose a vein where the catheter can be safely inserted and where the risk for infection is small
- Clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before putting in the catheter
- Wear a mask, cap, sterile gown and sterile gloves when putting in the catheter to keep it sterile
- Clean the patient’s skin with an antiseptic cleanser before putting in the catheter
- Clean their hands, wear gloves and clean the catheter opening with an antiseptic solution before using the catheter to draw blood or give medications
- Use a checklist to ensure no critical steps are missed and allow anyone on the care team to stop the procedure if they notice an error
- Decide every day whether the patient still needs to have the catheter and remove it as soon as possible
How are we doing?
By following these best practices and standardizing the central line insertion process throughout the hospital, we have dramatically lowered central line infection rates over time.
We continue to work on decreasing infection rates.
What can patients do to help?
Patients and their families can also help to reduce the incidence of central line-associated bloodstream infections. Download this central-line associated bloodstream infections fact sheet to see what preventive measures you and your family can take.
This page was last modified on 4/6/2017