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The Heart and Vascular nursing staff on 4 Anderson South is celebrating because they have gone one full year without a central line-associated blood stream infection – or CLABSI – in their patients. To be specific, the number is 413 days (as of March 1, 2013) and climbing.

According to the CDC, an estimated 41,000 central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) occur in U.S. hospitals each year.1 These infections are usually serious, typically causing a prolonged hospital stay, increased cost, and increased risk of morbidity and mortality.

CLABSI’s occur when a central venous catheter (CVC) is used. A CVC is an integral part of modern health care throughout the world, allowing for the administration of intravenous fluids, blood products, medications, and parenteral nutrition, as well as providing access for hemodialysis and hemodynamic monitoring.

However, their use is associated with the risk of bloodstream infections caused by microorganisms on the external surface of the device or microorganisms entering the fluid pathway when the device is inserted or manipulated after insertion.

To reach this milestone, the staff in the CTSU is very diligent when it comes to central line care. When they had their last central line infection over a year ago, they investigated all of the possible causes then reeducated the staff through presentations and an educational board on the unit.

Tracie Rivet, Nurse Manager of the CTSU, explains, “Our unit-based Clinical Practice Committee put a major emphasis on changing the claves when we changed the IV tubing and ensuring the dressing over the site was always clean and secure.”

A clave is a locking, needleless device attached to a catheter that keeps the veins and arteries readily available for administration of medication and fluids after initial venous or arterial access is established.

Rivet adds, “Our infection control liaisons validated that the staff knew proper techniques for the disinfecting of the clave prior to use. We also made this an area of focus for our new nurses on a unit orientation day.”

“We reached this milestone because of our hard work and dedication,” says Rivet. “We had creative ideas, we focused on education and kept this issue on the forefront for the past year. Our unit had the highest use of central lines compared to the other stepdown units in our hospital in 2012. The nursing staff has really taken ownership over this and should be very proud of this accomplishment.”

4 Anderson South is also closing in another milestone – One Year without a catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI). Currently, they have gone 357 days (as of March 1, 2013) without a CAUTI.

The CDC estimates that among urinary tract infections acquired in the hospital, approximately 75% are associated with a urinary catheter. Complications associated with CAUTI cause discomfort to the patient, prolonged hospital stay, and increased cost and mortality2. Each year, more than 13,000 deaths are associated with UTIs.3

“These outstanding quality numbers exemplify the outstanding nursing care on our unit,” stresses Rivet. “The nurses, nursing assistants and leadership team are dedicated to providing the best patient care with a strong focus on patient safety. It has been wonderful to see all of us come together as a team to accomplish these amazing successes.”


1CDC Vital Signs. Making healthcare safer: reducing bloodstream infections. March 2011. Available at:

2Scott Rd. The Direct Medical Costs of Healthcare-Associated Infections in U.S. Hospitals and the Benefits of Prevention, 2009. Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, National Center for Preparedness, Detection, and Control of Infectious Diseases, Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, February 2009.

3Klevens RM, Edward JR, et al. Estimating health care-associated infections and deaths in U.S. hospitals, 2002. Public Health Reports 2007;122:160-166.