Daily antiseptic bathing cut blood infection in pediatric patients by half

Using chlorhexidine gluconate to clean central lines cut the rate of infection significantly.

By Stephen Feller

NASHVILLE, June 26 (UPI) -- Daily bathing of pediatric patients with chlorhexidine gluconate, or CHG, reduced bloodstream infections related to central line catheters in hospitals by just under 60 percent, according to a new study.

In addition to daily bathing with disposable CHG wipes, hospital staff in the study also included cleaning strategies such as daily linen changes, assessment of central line dressings, appropriate technique for giving medications, and regular tubing and cap changes on the lines, which also helped to bring down infections.


Central line catheters are tubes inserted into a vein in the chest or neck to deliver fluids, medications or blood, providing a route for germs to enter the body.

"We took great care to ensure successful implementation of the new bathing regimen," said Adam N. Karcz, MPH, CPH, CIC, an infection preventionist at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, in a press release. "Our executive suite and unit managers made sure all staff understood that this was a priority. By educating everyone on the care team—including parents—and standardizing bathing procedures, we were able to dramatically reduce infections and save healthcare dollars in just six months."


Before instituting the new safety procedures, researchers conducted a control period six months before the study, finding 22 bloodstream infections at Riley, the hospital where the study was conducted. After new safety standards were introduced as part of the study, that number dropped to 9.

Researchers said that during the study, the hospital also saw a 56 percent drop in the number of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections.

The study is published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

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