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Journal of Hospital Infection

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A prospective, randomized, controlled, multi-centre clinical trial was performed to test the effectiveness of an antimicrobial central venous catheter (CVC) made of polyurethane integrated with silver, platinum and carbon black (Vantex). Adults expected to require a CVC for more than 60 h were eligible, and were randomized to receive the test or control catheter. All CVCs were inserted with new venipunctures using full aseptic technique. Following catheter removal, the distal tip and an intracutaneous segment were removed and cultured using semiquantitative and quantitative methods. Peripheral blood samples were obtained and cultured to confirm cases of catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI). Bacterial and fungal organisms were identified by standard microbiological methods. Catheter placement was performed primarily in the intensive care unit (50%) or operating theatre (42%). Complete data could be evaluated for 539 patients (77%). The mean duration of CVC placement was 149.3h (six days). There were no significant differences in colonization or bacteraemia rates between the test and control catheters. The overall colonization rate was not particularly low (24.5%), and yet CVC-related bacteraemia occurred in only 1.4% of patients, and CRBSI occurred in only one patient from the control group (0.2%). Insertion site and dressing change frequency were significantly associated with the colonization rate. Although CVCs with antimicrobial features have been associated with a decrease in catheter-related colonization and bacteraemia, this study demonstrated that infection rates may depend more on non-catheter-related factors, such as adherence to infection control standards, selection of insertion site, duration of CVC placement, and dressing change frequency. As microbial resistance increases, clinicians should make maximal use of these processes to reduce catheter-related infections.