Skip to main content

The efficacy of an antiseptic-impregnated catheter on catheter-related bloodstream infection in the ICU


Despite improvement in central venous catheter (CVC) design and insertion techniques, catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBI) continues to be a significant problem in the intensive care unit (ICU) [1]. Recently, CVCs impregnated with chlorhexidine and silver sulfadiazine (CCS) have been introduced for the prevention of CRBI [2, 3]. The objective of this study is to compare between the efficacy of CCS-impregnated CVC and a standard catheter during the CRBI incidences in the ICU.


In this prospective study, we observed that 108 patients who needed a CVC were randomized to receive either a triple-lumen catheter impregnated with CCS (ARROWgard Blue, PA, USA; n = 54) or a standard triple-lumen catheter (Certofix®; B/Braun, Melsungen, Germany; n = 54). We observed each patient from catheter insertion to removal, and collected data on patient-related factors. Catheters were removed when no longer needed or suspected as a cause of infection. The tip and a 5 cm segment of the intradermal portion of the catheter were cultured using the semiquantitative technique developed by Maki et al. [4]. If sepsis was suspected, peripheral venous blood samples, blood aspirated from the distal lumen and also approximately 20 cm2 of the skin at the insertion site were cultured. Catheter colonization (CC) was defined as the presence of ≥ 15 CFUs. CRBI was defined as isolation of the same organism from a catheter segment semiquantitative culture and from a peripheral blood culture.


Data are mean ± standard error of mean or the number of patients (Table 1).

Table 1


These findings suggest that a CVC impregnated with CCS does not affect the incidence and magnitude of CC and CRBI in long-term catheterization but it could be beneficial for short-term catheterization in critically ill patients.


  1. Gosbell IB: Central venous catheter-related sepsis: epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Intensive Care World 1994, 11: 54-58.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Heard SO, Wagle M, Vijayakumar E, McLean S, Brueggemann A, Napolitano LM, Edwars P, O'Connell FM, Puyana JC, Doern GV: Influence of triple-lumen central venous catheters coated with chlorhexidine and silver sulfadiazine on the incidence of catheter-related bacteremia. Arch Intern Med 1998, 158: 81-87. 10.1001/archinte.158.1.81

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Yorganci K, Krepel C, Weigelt JA, Edmiston CE: Activity of antibacterial impregnated central venous catheters against Klebsiella pneumoniae. Int Care Med 2002, 28: 438-442. 10.1007/s00134-002-1243-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Maki DG, Weise CE, Sarafin HW: A semi-quantitive culture method for identifying intravenous catheter-related infection. N Engl J Med 1977, 296: 1305-1309.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Osma, S., Kahveci, S., Akalin, H. et al. The efficacy of an antiseptic-impregnated catheter on catheter-related bloodstream infection in the ICU. Crit Care 7, P119 (2003).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI:


  • Catheter
  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Central Venous Catheter
  • Chlorhexidine
  • Maki