Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology

Original Articles

Individualized Catheter Surveillance among Neonates: A Prospective, 8-Year, Single-Center Experience

Walter Zingga1, Klara M. Posfay-Barbea2, Riccardo E. Pfistera2, Sylvie Touveneaua1 and Didier Pitteta1 c1

a1 Infection Control Program, University of Geneva Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland

a2 Department of Pediatrics, University of Geneva Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland


Objective. To monitor trends in central line-associated bloodstream infections and clinical sepsis (CLABICS) among neonates and to determine risk factors for infection, especially dwell time.

Design. Prospective, single-center cohort study conducted from 2001 through 2008.

Setting. University-affiliated tertiary care center.

Methods. Individualized surveillance of catheter use and CLABICS episodes was conducted. Data were obtained via regular on-site visits made 3 times a week. Trends over time were estimated by Poisson regression, and risk factor analysis was conducted using a Cox proportional hazards model and logistic regression.

Results. In all, 1,124 neonates were exposed to 2,210 central lines for a total of 12,746 catheter-days and 11,467 catheter-days at risk. The median duration of catheter use was 8 (interquartile range, 5–11) days for peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) and 4 (interquartile range, 2-6) days for umbilical catheters; 102 CLABICS episodes were detected. The median time to infection was 7 days. Incidence densities were 8.5 CLABICS episodes per 1,000 catheter-days at risk and 8.0 CLABICS episodes per 1,000 catheter-days. The highest rates were identified among neonates weighing 750 g or lower (14.9 CLABICS episodes per 1,000 catheter days at risk) and for PICCs (13.2 CLABICS episodes per 1,000 catheter days at risk). Catheter dwell time was associated with CLABICS for all umbilical catheters (odds ratio [OR], 1.2 per day of use [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.1–1.3] P< .001) and for PICCs for up to 7 days (OR, 1.2 [95% CI, 1.1–1.4]; P = .041), but not thereafter (OR, 1.0 [95% CI, 0.9–1.1]; P = .90).

Conclusion. Catheter dwell time is a risk factor for CLABICS during the first 7 days, irrespective of catheter type. After 7 days, PICCs are less likely to become infected.

(Received March 23 2010)

(Accepted July 07 2010)


c1 University of Geneva Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine, 4 rue Gabrielle Perret-Gentil, 1211 Genève 14, Switzerland (