Prevention of catheter-related infections: the skin

Nutrition. 1997 Apr;13(4 Suppl):26S-29S. doi: 10.1016/s0899-9007(97)00219-0.


Although intravascular devices have become indispensable tools in the care of seriously ill patients, the morbidity and mortality resulting from catheter-related infections and the high cost of managing such complications may offset the benefits derived from these devices. A scientific understanding of the pathogenesis, microbiology, and risk factors involved in catheter-related infection is the cornerstone of any effective preventive approach. Prevention of vascular catheter-related infection mostly centers around inhibiting the adherence to the catheter of microorganisms originating from either the skin or the catheter hub. Two general approaches can be used nonexclusively for successful prevention of vascular catheter-related infection. The first approach does not use antimicrobial agents and includes measures such as placement and maintenance of vascular catheters by a skilled infusion therapy team and use of maximal sterile barriers. The second approach uses antimicrobial agents and involves the application of topical disinfectants such as chlorhexidine, use of silver-impregnated subcutaneous cuffs (for short-term central venous catheters), flushing catheters with a combination of antimicrobial and antithrombotic agents, and coating of catheters with either antiseptic (chlorhexidine and silver sulfadiazine) or antimicrobial agents (minocycline and rifampin).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects*
  • Catheterization, Peripheral / adverse effects*
  • Equipment Contamination / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Sepsis / prevention & control*
  • Skin / microbiology*


  • Anti-Infective Agents