The CDC and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee—a federal advisory committee—have released new guidelines to help eliminate bloodstream infections associated with intravenous (IV) catheters. These infections increase hospital costs and lengths of stay.

Developed for health care personnel who insert IV catheters and for persons responsible for the surveillance and control of infections in hospitals, outpatient, and home health care settings, the guidelines are designed to help eliminate cather-related bloodstream infections from all patient-care areas. Recommendations are made on a variety of topics, including but not limited to:

  • Educating and training staff on the proper use and maintenance of catheters
  • Selection of catheters and sites
  • Hand hygiene and aseptic techniques
  • Maximal sterile barrier precautions
  • Skin preparation
  • Catheter-site dressing regimens
  • Systemic antibiotic prophylaxis and antibiotic/antiseptic ointments
  • Catheter replacement.

Guidelines for the Prevention of Intravascular Catheter-Related Infections, 2011 is a collaborative effort of many health organizations, and is intended to replace the CDC guidelines published in 2002. The document is available at www.cdc.gov/hicpac/BSI/BSI-guidelines-2011.html, and will be published in a special supplement to the American Journal of Infection Control.