Health Blog

Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infections (CLABSI)


A central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) is an infection that occurs when germs, primarily bacteria or viruses enter the bloodstream through the central line. CLABSI is one of the most expensive healthcare-associated infections.

What is a Central Line?

safecath disposable central venous catheter stadard package

A Central Line, also known as a central venous catheter (CVS), is a tube that medical professionals insert in a broad vein in the neck, chest, or groin to inject medications, fluid, or collect blood for medical tests.

A CVC may be used for multiple purposes including:

  • Various blood tests
  • Chemotherapy for cancer
  • Kidney dialysis
  • Long-term antibiotics to combat infection
  • Self-treatment at home

What are the causes of CLABSI?

There are various ways through which contamination can occur and cause CLABSI. Some of the main causes are:-

  • The patient’s skin flora
  • Contaminated infusion
  • Improper insertion technique
  • Infections spread from other sites
  • Non-intact dressing

Central Line-Associated Blood Stream Infections (CLABSI) Symptoms

Following are the primary symptoms to identify CLABSI:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Discharge at the central line exit site
  • Fever
  • Tachycardia
  • Hypotension
  • Respiratory Distress
  • Diaphoresis
  • Chills/Rigors
  • Altered Cognitive State

CLABSI Treatment

Healthcare centers need to treat CLABSI promptly. The treatment can include the use of intravenous antibiotics along with supportive measures such as intravenous fluid administration and oxygen therapy (if required). What are some of the measures that healthcare providers take to prevent CLABSI? A high CLABSI rate can significantly impact the overall quality care rating of the healthcare center, therefore, medical practitioners take serious measures to avoid any chances of healthcare-related infections.

Some of the fundamental steps taken by healthcare centers to mitigate the possibilities of CLABSI are mentioned below:-

  • Follow recommended central line insertion practices in order to prevent infection.
  • The medical staff adheres to proper central line maintenance practices to mitigate any possibility of infection.
  • Medical practitioners wash their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before and after touching the central line.
  • Place the central line only when needed and remove it as soon as possible. The sooner a catheter is removed, the lesser are the chances of infection.

What can patients do to prevent CLABSI (Central Line-Associated Blood Stream Infections)?

Along with healthcare workers, patients should also take the following measures to avoid the possibilities of CLABSI:-

  • Do prior research about the hospital and if possible, enquire about their CLABSI rate.
  • Speak up about any concerns related to the healthcare personnel, to ensure that the best infection prevention practice is adhered to.
  • Understand the necessity of a central line and how long it will be inserted.
  • If there is soreness or redness around the catheter, inform the healthcare personnel immediately.
  • Avoid touching the line as much as possible
  • Don’t let visitors touch the catheter or central line
  • Make sure the visitors wash their hands before and after they visit

Avoid CLABSI the Right Way

A central line is an imperative medical tool that makes it easier to supply medication or fluids into the patient’s body. However, if healthcare practitioners don’t follow proper measures while inserting the tube, it can result in an infection.
Along with following proper insertion techniques, the medical staff must also adhere to proper maintenance procedures in order to mitigate any possibilities of CLABSI and lower the overall rate of healthcare-associated infections.

Social Media links:

Facebook: @ThyDoc 

Youtube: ThyDoc Health 

Instagram: @thydoc_health