Aim: The purpose of this prospective, randomized, controlled study was the comparison of maximal sterile barrier (consisting of mask, cap, sterile gloves, gown, large drape) vs control precautions (mask, cap, sterile gloves, small drape) and of transparent polyurethan film vs gauze dressing for use on central venous (CVC) nontunneled catheters, inserted via the jugular vein. Skin colonization at the insertion site (defined by quantitative skin cultures performed at the time of insertion and in days 2 and 5) was used as a primary endpoint. Catheter tip colonization was also assessed through qualitative culture and CVC related sepsis was defined by the isolation of the same organism from the catheter tip and the blood, with clinical sepsis of no other apparent source.
Methods: Eighty-two consecutive patients were enrolled, admitted to a mixed medical-surgical ICU, aged 72+/-12 years, 58% male, SAPS II 42+/-13. One-hundred and seven CVCs were studied (presenting 750 catheter in situ days); CVCs were in place for a mean period of 6.9+/-4.7 days and 5 episodes of central catheter-related bloodstream infection were detected (6.6 per 1000 catheter days).
Results: A multiple logistic regression detected an increased risk of skin colonization in male gender (OR=2.5) and control precautions (OR=3.4) and no difference with regard to age, dressing and diagnostic group.
Conclusions: Maximal sterile barrier proved to be an effective and recommended practice. However surveillance skin cultures revealed the common and changing nature of colonization of skin at the insertion site.