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Comparing ethanol lock therapy versus vancomycin lock in a salvation strategy for totally implantable vascular access device infections due to coagulase-negative staphylococci (the ETHALOCK study): a prospective double-blind randomized clinical trial.

OBJECTIVES: Little is known about efficacy and safety of ethanol lock therapy (ELT) to treat totally implantable venous access device (TIVAD) infections. The objective of this trial was to evaluate the effectiveness and safety profile of a local treatment with ELT without removal for TIVAD infection due to coagulase-negative staphylococci.

METHODS: We performed a prospective, multicenter, double-blind, randomized clinical trial comparing the efficacy of 40% ELT versus vancomycin lock therapy (VLT) in TIVAD infections due to coagulase-negative staphylococci, complicated or not by bloodstream infection.

RESULTS: Thirty-one patients were assigned to the ELT group and 30 to the VLT arm. Concomitant bacteremia was present in 41 patients (67.2%). Treatment success was 58.1 % (18 of 31) for the ELT arm and 46.7% (14 of 30) for the VLT arm (p = 0.37). The overall treatment success was 52.5% (32). The risk of treatment failure due to uncontrolled infections, superinfections, and mechanical complications did not differ significantly between participants receiving ELT (13 out of 31 [42%]) and those receiving VLT (16 out of 30 [53%]) with a hazard ratio of 0.70 (p = 0.343; 95% CI [0.34-1.46], Cox model). Catheter malfunctions were significantly more frequent in the ELT arm (11 patients versus 2 in the VLT group, p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: We found an overall high rate of treatment failure that did not differ between the ELT arm and the VLT arm. TIVAD removal must be prioritized to prevent complications (uncontrolled infections, superinfections, and catheter malfunctions) except in exceptional situations.

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