Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections
by Amy Scholten, MPH
A central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) is a serious infection. The infection happens in the bloodstream. It can affect those with a central line catheter. A central line catheter is a long tube inserted into a large vein. It is used to give medicine, nutrition, IV fluids, and chemotherapy.
A CLABSI can lead to sepsis. Sepsis is life-threatening condition.
A CLABSI is caused when bacteria gets on a central line catheter. From the catheter, they can get into the bloodstream. This can happen from bacteria that normally live on the skin.
Things that raise the risk of a CLABSI are:
CLABSI may cause:
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include:
Tests will confirm if there is bacteria.
The goal is to clear the infection. This involves:
Proper catheter care and cleaning can help reduce the risk of a CLABSI.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Society of Critical Care Medicine
Canadian Patient Safety Institute
Catheter-related bloodstream infections. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/catheter-related-bloodstream-infection-crbsi. Accessed September 2, 2021.
Central venous catheter. American Thoracic Society website. Available at: https://www.thoracic.org/patients/patient-resources/resources/central-venous-catheter.pdf. Accessed September 2, 2021.
Central venous catheter. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/procedure/central-venous-catheter. Accessed September 2, 2021.
FAQs: Catheter-associated bloodstream infections. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hai/pdfs/bsi/BSI_tagged.pdf. Accessed September 2, 2021.
Saugel B, Scheeren TWL, et al. Ultrasound-guided central venous catheter placement: a structured review and recommendations for clinical practice. Crit Care. 2017;21(1):225.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Nicole Meregian, PA
Last Updated: 9/2/2021