Central venous catheters revisited--infection rates and an assessment of the new Fibrin Analysing System brush

Anaesth Intensive Care. 1996 Jun;24(3):330-3. doi: 10.1177/0310057X9602400305.


Sixty-one consecutive patients in the Intensive Care Unit requiring central venous lines (CVC) for five or more days were randomized to receive either a standard triple lumen CVC (STD/CVC) or a silver sulphadiazine and chlorhexidine impregnated CVC (SSD/CVC). Data from the 54 patients who completed the trial show a reduced infection rate (positive tip culture) in the SSD/CVC group (4 out of 28) compared to the STD/CVC group (10 out of 26) (P < 0.05). In addition, the new Fibrin Analysing System (FAS) brush was evaluated and used to determine the presence of infection in all the CVCs (STD/CVC and SSD/CVC combined, n = 54) at day 3 (i.e. early warning of CVC colonization/infection) and at the time of removal of the CVC. The FAS brush was able to detect an infected CVC on only one occasion on day 3 out of the 14 CVC tips which were later found to be colonized/infected at the time of removal. The sensitivity of the FAS brush in detecting colonized/infected CVCs at the time of CVC removal compared with CVC tip culture was 21% with a specificity of 100%. These findings would currently not support the routine use of the FAS brush in determining CVC infection/colonization.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acinetobacter / isolation & purification
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / therapeutic use
  • Bacterial Infections / etiology
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control*
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / instrumentation*
  • Chlorhexidine / therapeutic use
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Silver Sulfadiazine / therapeutic use
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / isolation & purification


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Chlorhexidine
  • Silver Sulfadiazine