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Antibiotic Dressing Reduces Catheter-Related Infections

Dressings can also be changed less often

TUESDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- An antibiotic-impregnated catheter dressing reduces catheter-related infections better than standard dressings in critically ill patients, according to a report in the March 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Jean-Francois Timsit, M.D., Ph.D., from University Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France, and colleagues randomly assigned 1,636 patients (3,778 catheters) in intensive care units to receive a chlorhexidine gluconate-impregnated sponge (CHGIS, Biopatch) in intravascular catheter dressings or standard dressings. Catheters were inserted for a mean of six days.

The researchers found that patients receiving a CHGIS dressing had a significantly lower rate of major catheter-related infections (hazard ratio, 0.39) and catheter-related bloodstream infections (hazard ratio, 0.24). One catheter-related infection per 117 catheters was prevented by using CHGIS dressings. Catheter colonization rates were similar when dressings were changed every three days versus every seven days (7.8 versus 8.6 percent, hazard ratio 0.99). There were a median of four dressing changes per catheter in the three-day group, and three dressing changes per catheter in the seven-day group, the authors report.

"Current guidelines suggest that the low rates achievable through optimized insertion practices and adherence to checklists might be sufficient," Eli N. Perencevich, M.D., from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, and Didier Pittet, M.D., from World Health Organization Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, write in an accompanying editorial. "The study by Timsit et al. has the potential to change the current clinical approach, given that rates of catheter-related bloodstream infection were driven even lower through the relatively simple use of a CHGIS dressing."

Ethicon Inc. donated the Biopatch dressings used in the study. One author reported a financial relationship with 3M Inc., which manufactures the semipermeable transparent dressing used in the study.

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