Background and objective: Catheter-related bloodstream infections are one of the main complications affecting patients in intensive care units. This prospective, randomized, unblinded, controlled study investigated colonization and infection rates of standard central venous catheters in comparison with the rates for silver-integrated catheters in the intensive care unit.
Methods: Complete data were evaluated for 272 catheters inserted into 230 patients (141 standard and 131 silver-integrated central venous catheters). Patient and catheter characteristics were documented for all patients. Positive catheters were detected by semi-quantitative and quantitative microbiologic techniques. Peripheral blood cultures were obtained at the time of catheter removal.
Results: There was no significant difference in the colonization rates and the colonization per 1000 catheter days between the standard and silver-integrated catheters. Using the Kaplan-Meier curves (long-rank test), there was a significant difference in the incidence of colonization and infections over time between standard and silver-integrated catheters (P<0.01 and P<0.05, respectively). Whereas standard catheters were first colonized 3 days after the insertion, silver-integrated catheters were first colonized 5 days after insertion.
Conclusion: Silver-integrated central venous catheters did not prevent catheter colonization and infections in critically ill patients, but there might be a significant difference in the incidence of colonization and infections over time between standard polyurethane and silver-integrated catheters.