Objective: To develop a standardized surveillance system for monitoring hemodialysis vascular-access infections in order to compare infection rates between outpatient sites and to assess the effectiveness of infection control interventions.
Design: Prospective descriptive analysis of incidence infection rates.
Setting: An outpatient hemodialysis center with facilities in Idaho and Oregon.
Patients: All outpatients receiving chronic outpatient hemodialysis.
Results: There were 38,096 hemodialysis sessions (31,603 via permanent fistulae or grafts, 5,060 via permanent tunneled central catheters, and 1,433 via temporary catheters) during an 18-month study period in 1997 to 1998. We identified 176 total infections, for a rate of 4.62/1,000 dialysis sessions (ds). Of the 176, 80 involved permanent fistulae or grafts (2.53/1,000 ds), 69 involved permanent tunneled central catheter infections (13.64/1,000 ds), and 27 involved temporary catheter infections (18.84/1,000 ds). There were 35 blood-stream infections (0.92/1,000 ds) and 10 episodes of clinical sepsis (0.26 /1,000 ds). One hundred thirty-one vascular-site infections without bacteremia were identified (3.44/1,000 ds), including 65 permanent fistulae or graft infections (2.06/1,000 ds), 42 permanent tunneled central catheter infections (8.3/1,000 ds), and 24 temporary catheter infections (16.75/1,000 ds).
Conclusions: Infection rates were highest among temporary catheters and lowest among permanent native arteriovenous fistulae or synthetic grafts. This represents the first report of extensive incidence data on hemodialysis vascular access infections and represents a standardized surveillance and data-collection system that could be implemented in hemodialysis facilities to allow for reliable data comparison and benchmarking.