The prevention, diagnosis and management of central venous line infections in children

Emily Chesshyre, Zoy Goff, Asha Bowen, Jonathan Carapetis
Journal of Infection 2015, 71 Suppl 1: S59-75
With advancing paediatric healthcare, the use of central venous lines has become a fundamental part of management of neonates and children. Uses include haemodynamic monitoring and the delivery of lifesaving treatments such as intravenous fluids, blood products, antibiotics, chemotherapy, haemodialysis and total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Despite preventative measures, central venous catheter-related infections are common, with rates of 0.5-2.8/1000 catheter days in children and 0.6-2.5/1000 catheter days in neonates. Central line infections in children are associated with increased mortality, increased length of hospital and intensive care unit stay, treatment interruptions, and increased complications. Prevention is paramount, using a variety of measures including tunnelling of long-term devices, chlorhexidine antisepsis, maximum sterile barriers, aseptic non-touch technique, minimal line accessing, and evidence-based care bundles. Diagnosis of central line infections in children is challenging. Available samples are often limited to a single central line blood culture, as clinicians are reluctant to perform painful venepuncture on children with a central, pain-free, access device. With the advancing evidence basis for antibiotic lock therapy for treatment, paediatricians are pushing the boundaries of line retention if safe to do so, due to among other reasons, often limited venous access sites. This review evaluates the available paediatric studies on management of central venous line infections and refers to consensus guidelines such as those of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).

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