Central line bundle implementation in US intensive care units and impact on bloodstream infections

PLoS One. 2011 Jan 18;6(1):e15452. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015452.


Background: Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) represent a serious patient safety issue. To prevent these infections, bundled interventions are increasingly recommended. We examine the extent of adoption of Central Line (CL) Bundle elements throughout US intensive care units (ICU) and determine their effectiveness in preventing CLABSIs.

Methodology/principal findings: In this cross-sectional study, National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) hospitals provided the following: ICU-specific NHSN-reported rates of CLABSI/1,000 central line days; policies and compliance rates regarding bundle components; and other setting characteristics. In 250 hospitals the mean CLABSI rate was 2.1 per 1000 central line days and 49% reported having a written CL Bundle policy. However, of those that monitored compliance, only 38% reported very high compliance with the CL Bundle. Only when an ICU had a policy, monitored compliance, and had ≥ 95% compliance did CLABSI rates decrease. Complying with any one of three CL Bundle elements resulted in decreased CLABSI rates (β = -1.029, p = 0.015). If an ICU without good bundle compliance achieved high compliance with any one bundle element, we estimated that its CLABSI rate would decrease by 38%.

Conclusions/significance: In NHSN hospitals across the US, the CL Bundle is associated with lower infection rates only when compliance is high. Hospitals must target improving bundle implementation and compliance as opposed to simply instituting policies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Bacteremia / prevention & control
  • Blood-Borne Pathogens
  • Catheter-Related Infections / prevention & control*
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects*
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / instrumentation
  • Catheters, Indwelling / microbiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods
  • Intensive Care Units / standards*
  • United States