To collect blood or administer medication and fluids, doctors must occasionally place central venous catheters, also known as central lines. Although an important part of the health care process for some, central lines sometimes allow germs into the bloodstream, which may lead to potentially serious or deadly central line-associated bloodstream infections.
Considered completely preventable, health care providers and patients alike may help keep CLASBIs from occurring by taking certain precautions.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, medical professionals should take steps to avoid CLASBIs in patients. In addition to practicing the appropriate hand hygiene, using chlorhexidine to prep the skin for line insertion and using full barrier precautions during the insertion of the line aids in the prevention of these serious infections. Appropriate CLASBI precautions also require health care providers to use sites other than the femoral vein for insertion in adult patients whenever possible, as well as to remove catheters as soon as patients no longer need them.
Patients also have the opportunity to aid in the prevention of CLASBIs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the safety precautions patients may take include the following:
- Refrain from getting the central line or insertion side wet
- Do not touch the tubing or area around the insertion site, and ask others to avoid doing so also
- Notify a member of the health care team if the bandage gets dirty, wet or comes off
Additionally, patients should tell their health care providers right away if they experience infection symptoms. For example, this may include redness or soreness around the insertion site, chills or a fever.
CLASBIs often cause people to suffer worsened medical conditions and, in some cases, even death. If health care professionals neglected to adhere to the appropriate infection practices, patients affected may consider pursuing compensation for their associated expenses.