Replacing a $1 connector for a central line greatly reduces risk of bloodstream infection. Next time you or someone you know in hospital has a central line installed, insist on a zero fluid displacement connector.

Changing Part of Central Line Could Reduce Hospital Infections

Simply replacing the connector in the IV system in patients with central lines could help reduce deadly bloodstream infections,...

A central line or central catheter is a tube placed in a patient's arm or chest to help deliver fluids, blood, or medications through the large veins near the heart. A connector sits at the top of the catheter and serves as the entry point for the fluid pathway inside -- any fluid that goes in or comes out of the body, goes through the connector.

Most connectors use positive or negative pressure -- either pushing fluid out or drawing blood in -- when catheters are disconnected for flushing and cleaning. Ironically, it's during that process -- designed to clean the catheter and ultimately reduce the chance of infection -- that germs find their way into the bloodstream causing an often dangerous blood infection. Nearly 250,000 central line-associated bloodstream infections happen in hospitals each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers analyzed data in six acute care settings in five states and found that the number of infections decreased by 60 percent when positive connectors were replaced with zero fluid displacement connectors and by 94 percent when negative connectors were replaced with the zero connectors for central line IV therapy. [emphasis mine]

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Replies to This Discussion

Interesting article Ruth.

The last time I was in the hospital I complained in the recovery room about the IV bag being at room temperature asking why it isn't preheated to body temperature so it doesn't hurt as it warms up at the point of entry in the arm to body temperature and consequently makes the patient cold. The nurse smiled and said "There's your million dollar idea."

Chris, I didn't know that hurts.  Your idea sounds like a good one, but most of the time the powers that be don't listen to the consumer (or worker).

It doesn't really hurt, it just aches at the point of entry and up the arm until the fluid warms to body temperature and it's why patients who have IV's are cold and need blankets.

If hospitals (insurance companies) aren't going to drop an extra buck for the checked pick they certainly won't do anything about warming I/V bags to make patients more comfortable even if it's something as simple as a heating pad type cover for the bag.

Thank you very much Ruth. I have a port for my chemo, and will insist on a zero fluid displacement connector if I am in the hospital. Very valuable information and worthy of keeping in my file.

My neighbor has brain cancer and is going through chemo. Thanks for the reminder Joan. I forwarded this article to her.




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