IV Catheter Is Found to Reduce Bloodstream Infections and Treatment Costs

Dr. Leonardo Lorente

A recent study found that a central venous catheter (CVC) designed to reduce bloodstream infections totally eliminated them at a hospital in Spain. The antimicrobial CVC also sharply reduced treatment costs related to the infections, compared to the unprotected CVC matched against it. You can read a study summary here.

The antimicrobial CVC in the study was the ARROW® CVC with ARROWg+ard® Technology. The catheter achieves its antimicrobial effect from a protective layer of chlorhexidine and silver sulfadiazine bonded to the catheter’s surface.

The differences between the protected CVC and the unprotected catheter proved to be stark:

* While the ARROW CVC had a zero rate of infections, the unprotected PICC was associated with a high catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI) rate of 8.61/1,000 catheter days. The rate gap between the devices was statistically significant.

* The CRBSI treatment costs associated with the antimicrobial CVC were six times lower than those associated with the unprotected catheter.

The study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), was a retrospective analysis performed by Leonardo Lorente, M.D., Ph.D. and colleagues at Hospital Universitario de Canarias, in Tenerife, Spain. All of the researchers are independent of Teleflex, the maker of the protected CVC. The researchers examined a total of 254 catheters and 2,195 catheter days.

The study stands out for several reasons:

* It confirms earlier studies that showed the protected CVC was effective against CRBSIs and also cost-effective.

* It underlines the CDC recommendation that institutions use antimicrobial catheters if they plan a catheter dwell time of more than five days and are unable to decrease CRBSI rates despite “successful implementation of a comprehensive strategy” to prevent the infections. Here’s where the Lorente study comes in: The CDC notes that “[antimicrobial catheters] can … potentially decrease hospital costs associated with treating CRBSIs, despite the additional acquisition cost of an antimicrobial/antiseptic impregnated catheter.” That is precisely what Lorente and his colleagues found.

* Researchers measured treatment-related costs in a unique way. Earlier cost-effectiveness analyses of antimicrobial catheters included the cost of extended hospital stays. But those costs can vary widely between institutions and countries. So the analysis only included direct expenses: the costs of the CVCs plus the costs of diagnosing and treating infections.

Teleflex is a Dowling & Dennis client, and we’re proud to represent devices like the protected CVC that can save lives and reduce healthcare costs.

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