Skip to main content

Catheter-related infection of arterial catheters in critical care


To describe the incidence of catheter-related local infection (CRLI) and catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI) of arterial catheters (AC) in critically ill patients.


A prospective study of patients admitted in a 24-bed medical–surgical intensive care unit of a 650-bed university hospital, from 1 May 2000 to 31 October 2001, and who had some AC. A multiple proportion comparison of CRLI and CRBSI incidence density between the different catheter accesses was performed using the Fisher–Freeman–Halton exact test. P < 0.05 was considered significant.


During this period of time 988 patients (60.12% male) were admitted in the ICU. The mean age was 55.63 ± 18.49 years, APACHE II score was 13.65 ± 5.83, and mortality was 14.37%. Patient distribution was: 49.69% cardiac surgery, 8.60% cardiologic, 12.14% neurologic, 11.84% traumathology, 7.29% respiratory, 6.58% digestive, 2.93% intoxication. The number of patients with AC, the number of AC and the days on risk for each AC were: global, 817, 1231 and 7171; radial, 753, 1057 and 5763; femoral, 111, 125 and 1091; pedia, 27, 30 and 226; humeral, 16, 19 and 91. The number of CRLI and CRBSI per 1000 days of catheterization were: general, 0.97 and 0.41; radial, 0.86 and 0.34; femoral, 1.83 and 0.91; pedia, 0; humeral, 0. Femoral arterial access had higher incidence density of CRLI (1.83/1000 catheter-days, P = 0.001) and CRBSI (0.91/1000 catheter-days, P = 0.001) than radial access. The three CRBSI were due to the following microorganisms: two Staphylococcus cogulasa negativo, one Staphylococcus aureus.


CDC guidelines for the prevention of catheter-related infection make no recommendation about the arterial catheter site. Our data suggest that any arterial site is preferable to the femoral arterial access.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Lorente, L., Galván, R., Martín, M. et al. Catheter-related infection of arterial catheters in critical care. Crit Care 8 (Suppl 1), P224 (2004).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: