Performance of medical residents in sterile techniques during central vein catheterization: randomized trial of efficacy of simulation-based training

Chest. 2011 Jan;139(1):80-7. doi: 10.1378/chest.10-0979. Epub 2010 Aug 12.


Background: Catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI) is a preventable cause of a potentially lethal ICU infection. The optimal method to teach health-care providers correct sterile techniques during central vein catheterization (CVC) remains unclear.

Methods: We randomly assigned second- and third-year internal medicine residents trained by a traditional apprenticeship model to simulation-based plus video training or video training alone from December 2007 to January 2008, with a follow-up period to examine CRBSI ending in July 2009. During the follow-up period, a simulation-based training program in sterile techniques during CVC was implemented in the medical ICU (MICU). A surgical ICU (SICU) where no residents received study interventions was used for comparison. The primary outcome measures were median residents' scores in sterile techniques and rates of CRBSI per 1,000 catheter-days.

Results: Of the 47 enrolled residents, 24 were randomly assigned to the simulation-based plus video training group and 23 to the video training group. Median baseline scores in both groups were equally poor: 12.5 to 13 (52%-54%) out of maximum score of 24 (P = .95; median difference, 0; 95% CI, 0.2-2.0). After training, median score was significantly higher for the simulation-based plus video training group: 22 (92%) vs 18 (75%) for the video training group (P < .001; median difference, 4; 95% CI, 3-6). During the follow-up period, there was a significantly lower rate of CRBSI in the MICU (1.0 per 1,000 catheter-days) compared with the SICU (3.4 per 1,000 catheter-days) (P = .03). The incidence rate ratio derived from the Poisson regression (0.30; 95% CI, 0.10-0.91) indicated there was a 70% reduction in the incidence of CRBSI in the postintervention MICU compared with the preintervention MICU and the postintervention SICU.

Conclusions: Simulation-based training in sterile techniques during CVC is superior to traditional training or video training alone and is associated with decreased rate of CRBSI. Simulation-based training in CVC should be routinely used to reduce iatrogenic risk.

Trial registry:; No.: NCT00612131; URL:

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Catheterization, Central Venous / methods*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Internal Medicine / education*
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Sterilization / standards*

Associated data