ICU Central Line Infections

What are we measuring?

A central line catheter (also known as a central venous catheter) is a tube placed in a large vein in the neck, chest or groin to give medication or fluids or to collect blood for medical tests. They are most often used in intensive care units.

These catheters are different from standard IVs because they are inserted farther into larger veins. Because they may remain in place for weeks or months, there is a risk that they may cause a serious bloodstream infection.

This chart measures the rate of bloodstream infections in the Norwalk Hospital intensive care units that were associated with central line catheters.

How are we doing?

We compare the current quarter to the same quarter the previous year, and to the national benchmark. Lower numbers are better.


What are we doing to improve?

Our care providers are taking a number of steps to help avoid bloodstream infections from central line catheters. When catheters are inserted, our staff members:

  • Perform excellent hand washing
  • Apply the appropriate antiseptic to the patient’s skin
  • Use sterile gloves, gowns, caps, masks and drapes

Once the catheter is in place, our staff members:

  • Follow recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on keeping it clean
  • Wash hands thoroughly before and after touching the catheter
  • Remove the catheter as soon as it is no longer needed