Background: Catheter hub contamination is being increasingly recognized as a source of catheter-related sepsis. The authors have investigated the efficacy of a new hub design in preventing endoluminal catheter contamination and catheter-related sepsis arising at the hub.
Methods: Adult surgical and intensive care patients requiring a subclavian catheter for at least 1 week were randomly assigned to receive catheters with standard connectors (control group, n=73) or equipped with a new hub model (new hub group, n=78). Skin, catheter tip, and hub cultures were performed at the time the catheter was withdrawn because therapy was terminated or because of suspicion of sepsis, in which case peripheral blood cultures were taken.
Results: Of the 151 patients included, 15 (10%) developed catheter-related sepsis. Catheters were more often withdrawn because suspicion of infection in the control group (42 vs. 19%, p<0.005). Catheter sepsis rate was higher in the control group (16 vs. 4%, p<0.01) because of the low rate of catheter sepsis arising at the hub observed in the new hub group (1 vs. 11%, p<0.01). The prevalence of culture-positive catheter hubs without associated bacteremia (colonization) was higher in the control group (18 vs. 5%, P<0.03).
Conclusions: A new catheter hub has proved to be useful in preventing endoluminal bacterial colonization and catheter-related sepsis in subclavian lines inserted for a mean of 2 weeks.