We aimed to compare the effectiveness of various catheters for prevention of catheter-related infection and to evaluate whether specific catheters are superior to others for reducing catheter-related infections. We identified randomised, controlled trials that compared different types of central venous catheter (CVC), evaluating catheter-related infections in a systematic search of articles published from January 1996 to November 2009 via Medline, Embase, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. Network meta-analysis with a mixed treatment comparison method using Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulation was used to combine direct within-trial, between-treatment comparisons with indirect trial evidence. Forty-eight clinical trials (12 828 CVCs) investigating 10 intervention catheters contributed to the analyses. For prevention of CVC colonisation, adjusted silver iontophoretic catheters (odds ratio: 0.58; 95% confidence interval: 0.33-0.95), chlorhexidine and silver sulfadiazine catheters (0.49; 0.36-0.64), chlorhexidine and silver sulfadiazine blue plus catheters (0.37; 0.17-0.69), minocycline-rifampicin catheters (0.28; 0.17-0.43) and miconazole-rifampicin catheters (0.11; 0.02-0.33) were associated with a significantly lower rate of catheter colonisation compared with standard catheters. For prevention of CRBSI, adjusted heparin-bonded catheters (0.20; 0.06-0.44) and minocycline-rifampicin catheters (0.18; 0.08-0.34) were associated with a significantly lower rate of CRBSI with standard catheters. Rifampicin-based impregnated catheters seem to be better for prevention of catheter-related infection compared with the other catheters.
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