Purpose of review: To review recent evidence supporting the guidelines for preventing catheter-related and catheter-associated infections.
Recent findings: A series of studies has confirmed, over the past few years, that education-based preventive programmes can reduce these infections by one half to two thirds. The evidence supporting some specific measures has increased for the optimal timing for set replacement, for catheter-site dressing with chlorhexidine-impregnated devices, and for the use of some coated or impregnated intravascular devices.
Summary: Catheter-related and associated infections are largely preventable and should not be viewed as an unaffordable tribute to technical medicine. Improvements in existing techniques and new technologies should all be integrated into a structured process of continuous improvement in the quality of care.