Objective: To reduce the rate of central line-associated bacteraemia (CLAB).
Design: A collaborative quality improvement project in intensive care units (ICUs) to promote aseptic insertion of central venous lines (CVLs). A checklist was used to record compliance with all aspects of aseptic CVL insertion, with maximal sterile barrier precautions for clinicians ("clinician bundle") and patients ("patient bundle"). CLAB was identified and reported using a standard surveillance definition.
Participants and setting: Patients and clinicians in 37 ICUs in New South Wales, July 2007-December 2008.
Main outcome measures: Compliance with aseptic CVL insertion; rates of CLAB.
Results: 10 890 CVL checklists were reviewed for compliance with the clinician and patient bundles: compliance with aseptic CVL insertion improved significantly (P < 0.001). The CLAB rate dropped from 3.0 to 1.2 per 1000 line-days (P < 0.001). Regardless of CVL type, the relative risk (RR) of CLAB in patients with CVLs inserted by clinicians not compliant with the clinician bundle was 1.62 times greater (95% CI, 1.1-2.4; P = 0.018) than the RR with CVLs inserted by clinicians compliant with both bundles. Compliance with both the bundles was associated with a 50% reduction in risk of CLAB (RR, 0.5; 95% CI, 0.4-0.8; P = 0.004).
Conclusions: Compliance with all aspects of aseptic CVL insertion significantly reduces the risk of CLAB. A difficulty we experienced was that most ICUs lacked the organisation and staff to support quality improvement and audit.