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Intravascular catheters are indispensable tools in modern medical therapy. In spite of their great benefits, however, the widespread use of catheters leads to several complications, including infections that cause significant morbidity, mortality, and economic losses for hospitalized patients.
This study was conducted at Farabi Hospital, a 495-bed facility at Karadeniz Technical University Medical School in Trabzon, Turkey, and involved 3 separate periods: preeducation, education, and posteducation. Patients with intravascular catheters were monitored daily, as were the results of their physical examinations. The information acquired was recorded in a questionnaire.
During the preeducation period (October 2003 through March 2004), 405 intravascular catheters inserted into 241 patients were observed for 5,445 catheter-days. Seventy-one cases of intravascular catheter-related infection (CRI) were identified, giving a CRI rate of 13.04 infections per 1,000 catheter-days. The catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI) rate was 8.3 infections per 1,000 catheter-days, and the exit-site infection (ESI) rate was 3.5 infections per 1,000 catheter-days. During the posteducation period (June through November 2004), 365 intravascular catheters inserted into 193 patients were observed for 5,940 catheter-days. Forty-five cases of CRI were identified, giving a rate of 7.6 infections per 1,000 catheter-days. The CRBSI rate was 4.7 infections per 1,000 catheter-days, and the ESI rate was 2.2 infections per 1,000 catheter-days. When findings from the 2 periods were compared, it was determined that education reduced CRI incidence by 41.7%.
CRI can be prevented when hospital personnel are well informed about these infections. We compared the knowledge levels of the relevant personnel in our hospital before and after theoretical and practical training and identified a significant increase in knowledge after training (P < .0001 ). Parallel to this, although still below ideal levels, we identified a significant improvement in the incidence of CRI during the posteducation period (P = .004). The rate was low for the first 3 months of this period but increased 2.08 times after the third month. In conclusion, regular training for the residents in charge of inserting intravascular catheters and the nurses and interns who maintain the catheters is highly effective in reducing the rate of CRI in large teaching hospitals.
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