Background and objectives: Catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSIs) are common in hemodialysis patients using central venous catheters, and catheter occlusion also occurs frequently. The Tego needlefree connector was developed to reduce the incidence of these complications; however, existing studies of its effectiveness and safety are limited.
Materials and methods: This retrospective analysis compared outcomes among patients of a large dialysis organization receiving in-center hemodialysis using a central venous catheter with either the Tego connector or standard catheter caps between October 1 and June 30, 2013. Incidence rates for intravenous (IV) antibiotic starts, receipt of an IV antibiotic course, positive blood cultures, mortality, and missed dialysis treatments were calculated, and incidence-rate ratios (IRRs) were estimated using Poisson regression models. Utilization of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) and thrombolytics was described for each patient-month and compared using mixed linear models. Models were run without adjustment, adjusted for covariates that were imbalanced between cohorts, or fully adjusted for all potential confounders.
Results: The analysis comprised 10,652 Tego patients and 6,493 controls. Tego use was independently associated with decreased risk of CRBSI, defined by initiation of IV antibiotics (adjusted IRR 0.92, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.87-0.97) or initiation of IV antibiotic course (adjusted IRR 0.89, 95% CI 0.84-0.95). Tego use was independently associated with decreased rate of missed dialysis treatments (adjusted IRR 0.98, 95% CI 0.97-1.00); no significant difference between Tego and control cohorts was observed with respect to mortality. Tego use was associated with decreased likelihood of thrombolytic use (adjusted per-month probability of 5.6% versus 6.2% for controls) and lower utilization of ESAs in study months 7-9.
Conclusion: Use of the Tego connector may reduce the risk of CRBSI and result in lower utilization of thrombolytics, antibiotics, and ESAs, as well as fewer missed dialysis treatments.
Keywords: ESA; catheter; dialysis; end-stage renal disease; infection; mortality.