Using maximal sterile barriers to prevent central venous catheter-related infection: A systematic evidence-based review

Northwest Health Services Research and Development Program, Department of Medicine, University of Washington and VA Puget Sound HCS, 1660 South Columbian Way, HSR&D (152), Seattle, WA 98108, USA.
American Journal of Infection Control (Impact Factor: 2.21). 06/2004; 32(3):142-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajic.2003.10.006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Catheter-related infections cause increased morbidity, mortality, and health care costs. Infection control experts advocate using maximal sterile barriers to reduce the incidence of these infections. Low compliance rates suggest that clinicians are not convinced or are not aware that available data support adopting this more cumbersome, time-consuming, and relatively more expensive technique. Accordingly, we conducted a systematic, evidence-based review of the medical literature to determine the value of maximal sterile barriers.
We used multiple computerized databases, reference lists of identified articles, and queries of prominent investigators.
We selected studies comparing infectious outcomes using maximal sterile barriers versus using less stringent sterile barrier techniques during central venous catheter insertion.
We found only 3 primary research studies. Although each study suggests maximal sterile barriers may reduce infectious complications, the evidence supporting this conclusion is incomplete. The only randomized controlled trial limited enrollment to ambulatory oncology patients. These 3 studies differed notably in their patient populations, research designs, and health care settings.
The medical literature suggests maximal sterile barriers are advantageous in at least one setting and may be useful in others. While we believe the available evidence does support the use of maximal sterile barriers during routine insertion of central venous catheters, prospective studies and economic analyses would better clarify its value.

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