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Central Line-Associated Blood Stream Infections (CLABSI)

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Central Line-Associated Blood Stream Infections (CLABSI) result in thousands of deaths each year and are largely preventable. A central line is a narrow catheter inserted close to the heart to deliver important medications and fluids. The most common risk factors associated with CLABSI are insertion practices, routine maintenance and prolonged usage. When not placed correctly or kept clean, bacteria and other germs can travel through the central line and enter the patient’s bloodstream.

How is The Queen’s Health System Performing Compared to the Nation? 

The Queen’s Health System reports out all identified CLABSI to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).  A standardized infection ratio (SIR) is calculated by NHSN, which is a risk-adjusted summary measure that compares the observed number of infections to the predicted number of infections during a selected time period. The measure takes into account risk factors that may impact the number of infections at a facility, including facility size, the types of patients treated and kinds of procedures performed.

SIRs below 1 indicate that the observed number of infections during the measured period was lower than would be expected, while values above 1 indicate that the observed number of infections was higher than expected.


lower is better


What Are We Doing to Prevent CLABSI?

At The Queen’s Health System we are working closely to educate, monitor and improve our practices to prevent CLABSI. Here are a few highlights:

  • We follow best practice techniques outlined by the CDC
  • Full barrier precautions during insertion, aseptic technique while accessing lines and early line removal. 
  • Bathe patients in the ICU with chlorhexidine daily
  • Utilization of advancement in technology, which makes higher quality products available to us. A few examples include the use alcohol caps at all access points and special chlorhexidine dressings on all central lines to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Review all CLABSI events to identify and work on any opportunities to improve