As the most recent guidelines for the prevention of catheter-related bloodstream infections (CR-BSIs) were published four years ago, a systematic review was conducted to determine whether any recently published articles should further influence existing guidelines. Articles published between 2002 and 2005 dealing with infection control measures for prevention of CR-BSI were evaluated in order to identify evidence for the possible modification of routine practice. Special emphasis was placed on randomized controlled trials (RCTs), meta-analyses or systematic reviews, and studies applying multi-module interventions. Thirty-three RCTs and 10 meta-analyses or systematic reviews were retrieved. In addition, 10 cohort studies were identified where multi-module programmes were introduced for reducing CR-BSI rates. It was found that RCTs and meta-analyses only have a minor influence on the existing guidelines for the prevention of CR-BSIs and confirm the earlier recommendations on several points. Studies investigating multi-module programmes, however, found a substantial reduction in CR-BSIs ranging from 29% to 95%. The data show that many CR-BSIs are preventable and that there is room for improvement in many institutions. Simple interventions are often useful for reducing CR-BSI rates and the opportunities to decrease CR-BSI rates appear to be greatest when multi-module programmes are applied. An average reduction of more than 50% seems to be possible.