What is a central line associated blood stream infection (CLABSI)?

A central line or central catheter is a small plastic tube placed into a larger blood vessel. This catheter is used to deliver fluids and medications, and to draw blood for tests. A central line associate blood stream infection can happen if bacteria or other germs enter the bloodstream through the catheter. These infections are serious, but can often be successfully treated with medicine. Texas Children's Hospital is continuously working to reduce the occurrence of central line infections. Our measures reflect the overall rate of the Central Line Associated BSI in our intensive care units.


What does central line associated blood stream infection (BSI) measure? 

The number of related infections per 1,000 catheter line days.  Each day a patient has a central line catheter in place counts as one catheter day.


What can you do as a parent or caregiver?

Here are some helpful tips to help prevent central line associated blood stream infections:

  • Everyone visiting the patient must wash their hands before and after they visit.
  • Pay attention to the bandage and area around the central line catheter. If the bandage or tape comes off or if the area around it is wet or dirty, tell a member of your child’s healthcare team right away.
  • On a regular basis ask the healthcare team if the central line is absolutely necessary. If so, ask them to help you understand the need for it and how long it will be in place.
  • Do not get the central line wet.
  • Notify the healthcare team immediately if the area around the catheter is sore or red or if your child has a fever or chills, or if you have any concerns.

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