The Impact of Bedside Behavior on Catheter-Related Bacteremia in the Intensive Care Unit

Craig M. Coopersmith*, Jeanne E. Zack, Myrna R. Ward, Carrie S. Sona, Marilyn E. Schallom, Sharon J. Everett, Way Y. Huey, Teresa M. Garrison, Jan McDonald, Timothy G. Buchman, Walter A. Boyle, Victoria J. Fraser, Louis B. Polish

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Hypothesis: The success of an educational program in July 1999 that lowered the catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI) rate in our intensive care unit (ICU) 3-fold is correlated with compliance with "best-practice" behaviors. Design: Before-after trial. Setting: Surgical ICU in a referral hospital. Patients: A random sample underwent bedside audits of central venous catheter care (n= 187). All ICU admissions during a 39-month period (N=4489) were prospectively followed for bacteremia. Interventions: On the basis of audit results in December 2000, a behavioral intervention was designed to improve compliance with evidenced-based guidelines of central venous catheter management. Main Outcome Measures: Compliance with practices known to decrease CRBSI. Secondary outcome was CRBSI rate on all ICU patients. Results: Multiple deficiencies were identified on bedside audits 18 months after the previous educational program. After the implementation of a separate behavioral intervention in July 2001, a second set of bedside audits in December 2001 demonstrated improvements in documenting the dressing date (11% to 21%; P<.001) and stop-cock use (70% to 24%; P<.001), whereas nonsignificant trends were observed in hand hygiene (17% to 30%; P>.99) and maximal sterile barrier precautions (50% to 80%; P=.29). Appropriate practice was observed before and after the behavioral intervention in catheter site placement, dressing type, absence of antibiotic ointment, and proper securing of central venous catheters. Thirty-two CRBSIs occurred in 9353 catheter-days 24 months before the behavioral intervention compared with 17 CRBSIs in 6152 catheter-days during the 15 months after the intervention (3.4/1000 to 2.8/1000 catheter-days; P=.40). Conclusions: Although a previous educational program decreased the CRBSI rate, this was associated with only modest compliance with best practice principles when bedside audits were performed 18 months later. A behavioral intervention improved all identified deficiencies, leading to a nonsignificant decrease in CRBSIs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-136
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


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