ATLANTA, May 19 (UPI) -- There was a 32 percent decrease in overall bloodstream infections in dialysis patients after federal prevention guidelines were used, U.S. officials say.
"Dialysis patients often have multiple health concerns, and the last thing they need is a bloodstream infection from dialysis," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said in a statement.
"These infections are preventable. CDC has simple tools that dialysis facilities can use to help ensure patients have access to the safe healthcare they deserve."
In 2009, the CDC and the participating dialysis centers worked together to develop and implement a package of interventions to prevent bloodstream infections.
In 2010, more than 380,000 U.S. patients relied on hemodialysis for treatment of their end-stage kidney disease. About 8-in-10 of these patients start treatment with a central line, which is a tube that a doctor usually places in a large vein in a patient's neck or chest to give medical treatment. If not put in correctly or not kept clean, central lines can provide a portal for germs to enter the body and cause bloodstream infections, Frieden said.
The study looked at data reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network by 17 outpatient dialysis facilities and compared infection rates before and after a set of CDC interventions were consistently used.
Interventions included chlorhexidine -- an antiseptic for the skin -- for catheter exit-site care, staff training and competency assessments focused on catheter care and aseptic technique, hand hygiene and vascular access care audits, and feedback of infection and adherence rates to staff, the study said.
The findings were published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.