Defining bloodstream infections related to central venous catheters in patients with cancer: a systematic review

Clin Infect Dis. 2011 Oct;53(7):697-710. doi: 10.1093/cid/cir523.


The objective of this review was to determine whether consistent definitions were used in published studies of bloodstream infections due to central venous catheters in patients with cancer (ie, catheter-related or catheter-associated bloodstream infections). Review of 191 studies reporting catheter-related or catheter-associated bloodstream infections in patients with cancer revealed a lack of uniformity in these definitions. We grouped definitions by type, with 39 articles failing to cite or report a definition. Definitions included those of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (n = 39) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (n = 18). The criteria included in the definitions in studies were also tabulated. Clinical manifestations were frequently included. Definitions used have been highly variable; comparability of risk factors, incidence, management, and outcomes of such infections is difficult to achieve across studies. Future research should focus on development of a common definition of catheter-related and catheter-associated bloodstream infections for both adults and children with cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Catheter-Related Infections / diagnosis*
  • Catheter-Related Infections / pathology
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Sepsis / diagnosis*
  • Sepsis / pathology
  • Terminology as Topic*