Surveillance of hemodialysis-associated primary bloodstream infections: the experience of ten hospital-based centers

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2002 Dec;23(12):721-4. doi: 10.1086/502000.


Objective: To determine baseline rates of primary bloodstream infection (BSI) among a large pool of patients receiving hemodialysis using standardized surveillance tools and methodology.

Design: Prospective, descriptive analysis of primary BSI rates.

Setting: Ten hospital-based hemodialysis centers in Connecticut.

Patients: All patients receiving long-term hemodialysis in the participating facilities.

Results: A total of 158 BSIs occurred during 142,525 dialysis sessions within a 12-month study period. Of the BSIs, 15.2% occurred in patients with fistula or graft access and 84.8% in patients with central venous catheter access (P < .001). Rates per 100 patient-years in centers ranged from 0 to 30.8, with a mean of 16.6. Rates per 1,000 dialysis sessions ranged from 0 to 2.1, with a mean of 1.1. Coagulase-negative staphylococci and Staphylococcus aureus (including methicillin-resistant S. aureus) accounted for 61% and Klebsiella or Enterobacter species for 14.6% of infections. Of the patients, 63.3% received vancomycin, 24.7% received cefazolin, and 41.7% received aminoglycosides. Rates declined in the second 6 months of the study from 1.4 to 0.8 infections per 1,000 dialysis sessions (P < .001).

Conclusions: Primary BSI rates varied widely among participating centers and declined during the study period. BSIs were strongly associated with central venous catheter access. Further studies are needed to determine the reasons for variance in rates between centers and among various types of hemodialysis access.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacteremia / epidemiology*
  • Bacteremia / microbiology
  • Catheters, Indwelling / adverse effects
  • Connecticut / epidemiology
  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infection Control / methods
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects
  • Renal Dialysis / instrumentation
  • Renal Dialysis / statistics & numerical data*


  • Anti-Infective Agents