Background: In adult Intensive Care Units, the complexity of patient treatment requirements make the use of central venous lines essential. Despite the potential benefits central venous lines can have for patients, there is a high risk of bloodstream infection associated with these catheters.
Aim: Identify and critique the best available evidence regarding interventions to prevent central venous line associated bloodstream infections in adult intensive care unit patients other than anti-microbial catheters.
Methods: A systematic review of studies published from January 2007 to February 2016 was undertaken. A systematic search of seven databases was carried out: MEDLINE; CINAHL Plus; EMBASE; PubMed; Cochrane Library; Scopus and Google Scholar. Studies were critically appraised by three independent reviewers prior to inclusion.
Results: Nineteen studies were included. A range of interventions were found to be used for the prevention or reduction of central venous line associated bloodstream infections. These interventions included dressings, closed infusion systems, aseptic skin preparation, central venous line bundles, quality improvement initiatives, education, an extra staff in the Intensive Care Unit and the participation in the 'On the CUSP: Stop Blood Stream Infections' national programme.
Conclusions: Central venous line associated bloodstream infections can be reduced by a range of interventions including closed infusion systems, aseptic technique during insertion and management of the central venous line, early removal of central venous lines and appropriate site selection.
Keywords: Blood stream infection prevention; Catheter; Catheterisation; Central line associated blood stream infection; Central venous line; Infection prevention-control; Intensive care; Systematic review.
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