Prevalence of the use of central venous access devices within and outside of the intensive care unit: results of a survey among hospitals in the prevention epicenter program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2003 Dec;24(12):942-5. doi: 10.1086/502163.


Objective: To determine the prevalence of central venous catheter (CVC) use among patients both within and outside the ICU setting.

Design: A 1-day prevalence survey of CVC use among adult inpatients at six medical centers participating in the Prevention Epicenter Program of the CDC. Using a standardized form, observers at each Epicenter performed a hospital-wide survey, collecting data on CVC use.

Setting: Inpatient wards and ICUs of six large urban teaching hospitals.

Results: At the six medical centers, 2,459 patients were surveyed; 29% had CVCs. Among the hospitals, from 43% to 80% (mean, 59.3%) of ICU patients and from 7% to 39% (mean, 23.7%) of non-ICU patients had CVCs. Despite the lower rate of CVC use on non-ICU wards, the actual number of CVCs outside the ICUs exceeded that of the ICUs. Most catheters were inserted in the subclavian (55%) or jugular (22%) site, with femoral (6%) and peripheral (15%) sites less commonly used. The jugular (33.0% vs 16.6%; P < .001) and femoral (13.8% vs 2.7%; P < .001) sites were more frequently used in ICU patients, whereas peripherally inserted (19.9% vs 5.9%; P < .001) and subclavian (60.7% vs 47.3%; P < .001) catheters were more commonly used in non-ICU patients.

Conclusions: Current surveillance and infection control efforts to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with bloodstream infections concentrate on the high-risk ICU patients with CVCs. Our survey demonstrated that two-thirds of identified CVCs were not in ICU patients and suggests that more efforts should be directed to patients with CVCs who are outside the ICU.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / statistics & numerical data*
  • Catheters, Indwelling / microbiology
  • Catheters, Indwelling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Cross Infection / etiology
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Hospital Units / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Utilization Review