Date of Paper/Work

5-2011

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Nursing

Department

Nursing

Advisor(s)

Teri Kiresuk

Abstract

Central venous catheters (CVCs) have been widely utilized since the 1970’s. They have become essential in the medical field for a variety of uses throughout an array of different patient populations. The most common function of a CVC is safe administration of intravenous medications such as chemotherapy and antibiotics. They are also used for blood product transfusions, nourishment such as total parenteral nutrition (TPN), and dialysis for patients with impaired renal function. These catheters have allowed patients to live a more normal life outside of the hospital. However, in the United States, central venous catheters are the leading source of nosocomial bloodstream infections, causing 2,400 to 20,000 deaths. Not only are catheter related blood stream infections (CRBSIs) costly, they also are associated with a negative impact on patients’ quality of life, therefore prevention of CRBSIs is key. Prevention of CRBSIs begins with using maximum precautions to create a sterile field during the insertion of a CVC and continues with appropriate maintenance of the site. Practitioners need to be knowledgeable about what organisms commonly cause CRBSIs, and the most effective way to treat them. Such treatments include removal of the catheter, antibiotic therapy, antibiotic lock therapy, and ethanol lock therapy.

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