Australian research has found that a modification to the maintenance of intravenous central lines — catheters used to deliver medicine, fluids and blood — could cut the rate of bloodstream infections in hospitals to almost zero.
This change could end up saving hospitals hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and reduce the time people have to stay in intensive care, according to a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
About 4,000 central line-associated bloodstream infections occur in Australian intensive care each year, with a mortality rate of between 4% and 20% at an estimated cost of $36.26 million a year.
Each case adds an extra 2.5 days in the ICU and an extra 7.5 days in the hospital.
A central line bundle of care program, introduced by the University Hospital Geelong ICU and the Infection Control Service, saw the average infection rate drop to 0.5 infections per 1000 central line days
This is the equivalent to 15 fewer cases an estimated total reduction in ICU length of stay of 38 days, hospital length of stay of 113 days and a cost saving of about $210,000.
The care program includes the use of a Biopatch – a dressing proven to reduce catheter-related infections – as well as daily body wash using an antiseptic.
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