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All Intravascular Devices Pose Risk of Bloodstream Infection to Patients

All types of intravascular devices (IVDs) pose a risk of bloodstream infection to exposed hospitalized adult patients//, finds a study published in the September issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. What’s more, IVDs have become the leading cause of bloodstream infections in health care settings in the United States and worldwide. An IVD is described as any device that allows access to the bloodstream, but typically a catheter.

As many as 500,000 IVD-related bloodstream infections occur in the United States each year and lead to increased morbidity and prolonged hospital stays, from 10 to 20 days, costing $4,000 to $56,000 per episode. Catheter- or device-related bloodstream infections are widely considered the most preventable class of infections occurring in hospitals.

Authors of the IVD article in Mayo’s medical journal extracted data from 200 prospective studies to examine the risk of IVD-related bloodstream infections associated with each type of IVD. Lead author Dennis Maki, M.D., a researcher and infectious disease and critical care specialist at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, says the findings offer “hard data” that IVDs pose a risk to all recipients.

“We thought this analysis might provide a unique opportunity to wave the flag and convince both health care workers and patients that all types of IVDs pose a risk,” Dr. Maki says. “Clinicians and quality assurance experts need to understand that these risks are significant and are often greater than they might think.”

The use of specialized IVDs for long-term or indefinite vascular access has dramatically increased in recent years in hospital and especially outpatient settings, but attention to reducing incidence of bloodstream infections has focused almost exclusively on patients with short-term central venous catheters in intensive care units, Dr. Maki says. In the last decade, virtually all progress in control of IVD-related bloodstr
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