Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infection (CLABSI) Reduction

What’s the evidence for preventing central-line associated blood stream infections (CLABSI)?

Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infection (CLABSI) Reduction

  • CLABSI’s are bad:
    • 28,000 deaths among patients in the intensive care unit (ICU).
    • Average cost of care for patients with CLABSI is $45,000, up to $2.3 billion annually!
  • A key study in Critical Care Medicine was “An Intervention to Decrease Catheter-Related Bloodstream Infections in the ICU”1 which investigated basic interventions such as:
    • Hand washing
    • Using full-barrier precautions during the insertion of central venous catheters
    • Cleaning the skin with chlorhexidine
    • Avoiding the femoral site (if possible)
    • Removing unnecessary catheters
  • This study showed that no line infections occurred in over 70 intensive care units across the great state of Michigan 18 months after implementation.
  • This study was followed up 10 years later and the rates of CLABSI remain well-below the national average.2
  • Bottom-line: Culture change can be permanent with simple solutions!


  1. Pronovost, Peter, et al. “An intervention to decrease catheter-related bloodstream infections in the ICU.” New England Journal of Medicine355.26 (2006): 2725-2732.
  2. Pronovost, Peter J., et al. “Sustaining reductions in central line–associated bloodstream infections in Michigan intensive care units: A 10-year analysis.” American Journal of Medical Quality31.3 (2016): 197-202.



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