A Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infection
(CLABSI) is serious, but of ten can be successfully
treated with antibiotics. The central line (i.e., catheter) might need to be removed if a patient develops an infection.
Below is a summary of steps to follow to help prevent
CLABSIs from occuring.
What do hospitals advise
nurses and doctors to do
to prevent CLABSI?
- Choose a vein where the
catheter can be safely inserted
and where the risk for infection
- Clean their hands with soap
and water or an alcohol-based
hand rub before putting in the
- Wear a mask, cap, sterile gown,
and sterile gloves when putting
in the catheter to keep it
sterile. The patient will be
covered with a sterile sheet.
- Clean the patient’s skin with
an antiseptic cleanser before
putting in the catheter.
- Clean their hands, wear gloves,
and clean the catheter opening
with an antiseptic solution
before using the catheter to
draw blood or give
- Clean their hands and wear
gloves when changing the
bandage that covers the area
where the catheter enters the
- Decide every day if the patient
still needs to have the catheter.
The catheter will be removed
as soon as it is no longer
What can I do to help
prevent a CLABSI?
- Ask your doctors and nurses to
explain why you need the catheter
and how long you will have it.
- Ask your doctors and nurses if
they will be using all of the
prevention methods discussed
- Make sure that all those caring
for you clean their hands with
soap and water or an alcoholbased
hand rub before and after
caring for you.
- Tell your nurse or doctor
immediately if the bandage comes
off or becomes wet or dirty.
- Inform your nurse or doctor if the
area around your catheter is sore
- Do not let visitors touch the
catheter or the tubing.
- Make sure family and friends
clean their hands with soap and
water or an alcohol-based hand
rub before and after visiting you.
Remember: If you do not see your
providers clean their hands, please
ask them to do so1.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
APIC, Joint Commission, IDSA, AHA, SHEA,
FAQ Sheet about “Catheter-Associated
Bloodstream Infections” http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/pdf/guidelines/BSI_tagged.pdf.
Understanding Measures for Healthcare-Associated Infections
Using the Information on this Website