Often used to give fluids or medications to the critically ill or to draw blood, patients in North Carolina and elsewhere may require the placement of a central line catheter in their necks, chests, arms or groins. Should viruses or bacteria enter their bloodstreams through these lines, people may develop serious infections known as central line-associated bloodstream infections or CLASBIs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, patients may experience redness or soreness around the insertion site or fevers as a result of these preventable infections, and in some cases, may even suffer death.
Patients and their families can take action to help prevent CLASBIs. When they have central lines inserted, people should refrain from touching them as much as possible, and they should ask others not to touch them. Additionally, patients should avoid getting the bandaging around the insertion site wet or dirty, and they should inform their health care providers if it requires changing or comes off.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are stringent protocols in place for the insertion and maintenance of central lines that, if followed, may help medical professionals protect their patients from developing CLASBIs. This includes washing their hands using soap and water or hand sanitizer between patients, after taking their gloves off, before and after invasive procedures, before eating, after using the restroom and anytime they suspect contamination. It is also important for health care providers to use the appropriate skin prep agent and employ full-barrier precautions when they are inserting these catheters. Once they are no longer necessary, medical professionals are advised to immediately remove patients’ central lines.