Disinfection caps successful in CLABSI prevention

Thanks to the simple use of an alcohol-impregnated cap, Loyola University Medical Center achieved a 68 percent decrease in the overall number of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) over a 12-month period. A two-year study compared the use of disinfection caps to an intense scrub-the-hub intervention to standard care. Scrub-the-hub refers to cleaning catheter connector hubs and injection ports with alcohol for the recommended 15 seconds before accessing the central line, a catheter placed in a large vein to deliver medicine and liquids during hospitalization.

"Loyola discovered that 80 percent of infections occurring in the scrub-the-hub arm were related to not scrubbing the hub for the required full 15 seconds," says Marcelina M. Wawrzyniak, MSN, RN, study author and infection preventionist at Loyola University Medical Center. "Substituting the use of alcohol-impregnated caps was very well-received by staff due to the ease of use. Implementation of the caps sustained a reduction in CLABSI over the long term."

Wawrzyniak presented the Loyola study in June at the annual conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). Wawrzyniak received the Young Investigator Award as primary author of the Loyola study.

The cost of CLABCI is estimated at $45,814 per , according to a recent analysis published in the Journal of American Medical Association Internal Medicine. "Loyola went from 59 to just 23 CLABSIs within a 12-month period after using the alcohol caps, reducing hospital costs by over $1 million," says Jorge Parada, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, professor of medicine at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. "Alcohol impregnated caps were an added cost but documentation of the increased patient safety coupled with the reduction in CLABSI costs made it easy to receive administration approval."

A poster presentation of Infection Prevention Denominator Data Collection Opportunities in a University Medical Center was also created by Loyola and showcased at the national conference.

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