Taurolidine lock solutions for the prevention of catheter-related bloodstream infections: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

PLoS One. 2013 Nov 21;8(11):e79417. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079417. eCollection 2013.


Background: Catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSIs) are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients, contributing to prolonged hospital stays and increased costs. Whether taurolidine lock solutions (TLS) are beneficial for the prevention of CRBSIs remains controversial. In this meta-analysis, we aim to assess the efficacy of TLS for preventing CRBSIs.

Methods: We conducted a systematic search of PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. Eligible studies included randomized controlled trials that reported on the effects of TLS for preventing CRBSIs. The primary outcome in these studies was catheter-related bloodstream infections, with microbial distribution of CRBSI and catheter-associated thrombosis as secondary outcomes. Data were combined using random-effects models owing to significant clinical heterogeneity.

Results: Six randomized controlled trials (RCTs) conducted from 2004 through 2013 involving 431 patients and 86,078 catheter-days were included in the review. TLS were significantly associated with a lower incidence of CRBSIs when compared to heparin lock solutions (Risk Ratio [RR], 0.34; 95% Confidence Interval [CI], 0.21-0.55). Use of TLS significantly decreased the incidence of CRBSIs from gram-negative (G-) bacteria (P = 0.004; RR, 0.27; CI, 0.11-0.65), and was associated with a non-significant decrease in gram-positive (G+) bacterial infections (P = 0.07; RR, 0.41; CI, 0.15-1.09). No significant association was observed with TLS and catheter-associated thrombosis (RR, 1.99; CI, 0.75-5.28).

Conclusions: The use of TLS reduced the incidence of CRBSIs without obvious adverse effects or bacterial resistance. However, the susceptibility of G+ and G- bacteria to taurolidine and the risk for catheter-associated thrombosis of TLS are indeterminate due to limited data. The results should be treated with caution due to the limited sample sizes and methodological deficiencies of included studies. Therefore, additional well-designed and adequately powered RCTs are needed to confirm these findings.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Catheter-Related Infections / microbiology
  • Catheter-Related Infections / prevention & control*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Taurine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Taurine / therapeutic use
  • Thiadiazines / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Thiadiazines
  • Taurine
  • taurolidine

Grant support

The authors have no support or funding to report.