The same strategies need to be implemented on a far wider scale, argue the researchers, to make IVDs safer for all hospitalized patients, as well as outpatients who have IVDs.
Guidelines -- such as those published by the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) Hospital Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee in 2002 -- exist for prevention of IVD-related bloodstream infections and need to be adapted more widely by health care providers to ensure safer IVD use. Reduced bloodstream infections will follow, predicts Dr. Maki.
The article's authors also urge wider use of novel IVD technologies designed to reduce IVD-related bloodstream infections. In an accompanying editorial, David Snydman, M.D., of Tufts-New England Medical Center, also cites advancing technology as a promising means for reducing IVD-related bloodstream infections.
"Technology holds far more promise for reducing risk than behavioral modification," Dr. Maki says. "We believe that it holds the greatest promise. In our paper, we point up a number of IVD technologies that have been proven to be effective, but, as yet, inexplicably, aren't widely used."
Although consumers may be surprised to learn that all IVDs carry a risk of bloodstream infection, Dr. Maki advises them to become better informed, not alarmed. Vascular access is absolutely essential to today's health care and in many cases is lifesaving, he says. But if an IVD insertion is scheduled, patients should feel comfortable asking their health care providers what measures will be taken to minimize their risk of bloodstream infection, Dr. Maki says.
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