Avoiding Trouble Down the Line: The Management and Prevention of Hemodialysis Catheter-Related Infections
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Over the last 2 decades, hemodialysis catheter use has increased. Annually, approximately 30% of patients using a central venous catheter (CVC) experience a septic or bacteremic episode and are subsequently at risk of its associated long-term complications and mortality. Because of the serious clinical and financial impact of hemodialysis catheter-related bacteremias (HCRIs), standardized, validated definitions based on the hemodialysis patient population are necessary in order to better diagnose, monitor, and report HCRI for patient quality assurance and research purposes. The pathophysiology of HCRI involves a complex interaction between a triad that consists of the host patient, the infecting microorganism, and the vehicle catheter. Although the microorganism contribution in the pathogenesis of HCRI is likely most important, certain patient and catheter-related characteristics may be more amenable to manipulation. The key to managing HCRI is on prophylaxis against the initial microorganism catheter adherence and subsequent biofilm development. General and specific prophylactic maneuvers directed at both an intravascular and extraluminal route of microorganism entry are discussed including antibiotic- and silver-impregnated catheters and dressings, subcutaneous access devices, and topical prophylaxis at the exit site. In addition to systemic antibiotic use, the 3 methods of HRCI treatment using catheter salvage, guidewire exchange, and concurrent antibiotic lock are compared. The outcome and complications of HCRI may be serious and highlight the importance of careful, continual infection surveillance. Although the use of a multidisciplinary hemodialysis infection control team is desirable, staffing education and physician feedback have been shown to improve adherence to infection control guidelines and reduce HCRI.
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