Quality improvement efforts can reduce bloodstream infections associated with catheters, which may lead to better health outcomes, decreased hospital stays and related costs, a new study has found.

The occurrences of catheter-associated bloodstream infections (CA-BSI) in cardiac intensive care units at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, were reduced from 3.3 per 1,000 central line days to 0.55 per 1,000 central line days at the end of the intervention period, according to the study.

Implementation of a central line insertion and maintenance bundle that emphasises full sterile barrier precautions and chlorhexidine skin preparation during insertion, as well as daily discussion of catheter necessity and meticulous site and tubing care, has been found to reduce the incidence of bloodstream infections.

The study was presented at the annual Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) meeting in Vancouver, Canada, on 3 May along with another study that shows a hospital-wide quality improvement collaborative resulting in a significant reduction in the incidence rate.

CA-BSIs include the majority of hospital-acquired BSI in paediatric patients, which may result in increased lengths of stay, hospital costs and mortality.

The study was conducted in collaboration with researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.