Haemodialysis catheter-related bloodstream infections: current treatment options and strategies for prevention

Swiss Med Wkly. 2005 Mar 5;135(9-10):127-38.


Regardless of the repeated reservations raised by countless researchers with reference to the use of catheters as vascular access for haemodialysis (HD), central venous catheters (CVCs) remain irreplaceable tools of the modern dialysis delivery system as a reliable option for the clinical situations requiring instant access to circulation, for various reasons. Patients on long-term haemodialysis are therefore at a significantly high risk for catheterrelated bloodstream infections (CRBSI) and ensuing serious complications. Although early systemic antibiotic treatment should include the coverage for Staphylococcus aureus, the pathogen with most devastating consequences including bacterial endocarditis; optimal treatment of CRBSI while preserving the catheter site, remains contentious. Nonetheless, catheter exchange over a guide wire and antimicrobial-anticoagulant "locks" have shown promising results as novel access salvage techniques. Despite the fact that a number of novel potentially useful strategies for the prevention of CRBSI are in the pipeline; equally essential however, remains the role of rigorous implementation of standard infection control measures for hygiene and aseptic handling of CVCs in long-term HD patients. The policy of increasing the AVF (arteriovenous fistula) prevalence beyond 50% while minimising the use of CVCs, dependent largely upon the timely referrals and prudently implemented pre-ESRD program - ought to have a positive impact on long-term HD outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteremia / epidemiology
  • Bacteremia / etiology
  • Bacteremia / prevention & control*
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Renal Dialysis / instrumentation
  • Risk Factors