Purpose of review: Central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) are a common source of morbidity and mortality in neonatal and pediatric intensive care units. Successful preventive strategies have recently been reported which have resulted in significant reductions in CLABSIs and their associated adverse outcomes.
Recent findings: Current surveillance data indicate a recent decline in reported CLABSI rates, likely secondary to changes in diagnostic criteria and improvements in central line care. Recent pilot randomized trials in the neonatal intensive care unit population have assessed the safety and efficacy of chlorhexidine gluconate for cutaneous antisepsis and silver alginate-impregnated dressings. No significant reductions in CLABSIs have been noted with the use of either. The greatest success has come with implementation of evidence-based catheter care bundles, which have been shown in individual units and collaborative critical care networks to significantly reduce CLABSI rates.
Summary: CLABSIs remain a significant problem in neonatal and pediatric critical care units, but implementation of catheter care bundles can significantly reduce rates of these infections. The safety and efficacy of chlorhexidine gluconate, silver alginate, and antibiotic-coated catheters need to be assessed via large, multicenter trials. Creation of collaborative networks may facilitate this goal.