Papadimos, Thomas J; Hensely, Sandra J; Duggan, Joan M; Hofmann, James P; Khuder, S A; Borst, Marilyn J; Fath, John J J
Catheter-related blood stream infections (CRBSI) cause significant morbidity and mortality. A retrospective study of a performance improvement project in our teaching hospital's surgical intensive care unit (SICU) showed that intensivist supervision was important in reinforcing maximal sterile barriers (MSB) use during the placement of a central venous catheter (CVC) in the prevention of CRBSI. A historical control period, 1 January 2001-31 December 2003, was established for comparison. From 1 January 2003-31 December 2007, MSB use for central venous line placement was mandated for all operators. However, in 2003 there was no intensivist supervision of CVC placements in the SICU. The use of MSB alone did not cause a significant change in the CRBSI rate in the first year of the project, but close supervision by an intensivist in years 2004-2007, in conjunction with MSB use, demonstrated a significant drop in the CRBSI rate when compared to the years before intensivist supervision (2001-2003), p < .0001. A time series analysis comparing monthly rates of CRBSI (2001-2007) also revealed a significant downward trend, p = .028. Additionally, in the first year of the mandated MSB use (2003), 85 independently observed resident-placed CVCs demonstrated that breaks in sterile technique (34/85), as compared those placements that had no breaks in technique (51/85), had more CRBSI, 6/34 (17.6%) vs. 1/51 (1.9%), p < .01. Interventions to reduce CRBSI in our SICU needed emphasis on adequate supervision of trainees in CVC placement, in addition to use of MSB, to effect lower CRBSI rates.