Bacterial colonization of tunneled right atrial catheters in pediatric oncology: a comparison of sterile saline and bacteriostatic saline flush solutions

Am J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. Summer 1991;13(2):137-40. doi: 10.1097/00043426-199122000-00004.


In a double-blind, randomized controlled trial, children with malignant diseases had their tunneled right atrial catheters flushed with either sterile saline or bacteriostatic saline, once per week for 26 weeks. There was no significant difference in the rates of catheter colonization between the two groups, which did differ, however, in terms of the time from entry into the study to the first infective event (64 +/- 34 days vs. 146 +/- 27 days; p less than 0.001). This was strongly suggestive of a seasonal effect, as all of the colonizations in the bacteriostatic saline group were delayed until the summer months. We conclude that the use of a bacteriostatic saline flush solution for tunneled right atrial catheters is beneficial in efforts to prevent catheter colonization.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections / etiology
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control*
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects*
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / instrumentation
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / methods
  • Catheters, Indwelling
  • Child
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Equipment Contamination / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Sodium Chloride*
  • Solutions


  • Solutions
  • Sodium Chloride