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Patient Safety Authority Provides Analysis, Data-Driven Prevention Strategies

September 1, 2011

Data submitted by Pennsylvania hospitals in 2010 pinpoints timelines for prevention strategies for reducing and/or eliminating central-line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI), according to information published in the September 2011 Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory.

Central venous catheters (CVC) are used as one form of access to a patient’s veins for medications and other fluids. While CVCs are necessary, their use puts patients at risk for CLABSI.

Infection can occur within the first five days of insertion, known as the insertion phase, or after the first five days, which is known as the maintenance phase.

The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority studied CLABSI data reported by Pennsylvania healthcare facilities in calendar year 2010. The data showed that in over 70 percent of the CLABSI cases, the infections occurred more than five days after the CVC was placed in the patient. Infections from bacteria occurring after five days may signify weaknesses in the maintenance phase of monitoring CVCs.

“Authority analysis shows that facilities may want to consider focusing more resources on the maintenance phase of CVCs to help reduce CLABSIs,” James Davis, BSN, RN, CCRN, CIC, analyst for the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority said. “Infection preventionists, who detailed their descriptions of the CLABSI events by providing CVC insertion dates, helped the Authority determine that most cases of CLABSI in Pennsylvania healthcare facilities developed during the maintenance phase.


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