Could CDC’s New Catheter-Site Dressing Advice Curb Infections?

New guidelines urge use of dressings with an FDA-cleared label that specifies a clinical indication for reducing catheter-related bloodstream infection or catheter-associated bloodstream infection.

Image of BIOPATCH courtesy of Ethicon

To help prevent intravascular catheter-related infections, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has updated its guidelines on catheter-site dressing regimens.

The CDC now advises that for patients aged 18 years and older, “Chlorhexidine-impregnated dressings with an FDA-cleared label that specifies a clinical indication for reducing catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI) or catheter-associated bloodstream infection (CABSI) are recommended to protect the insertion site of short-term, non-tunneled central venous catheters (1A)."

Previously, according to its 2011 guidelines, the CDC recommended the use of “a chlorhexidine-impregnated sponge dressing for temporary short-term catheters in patients older than 2 months of age if the central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) rate is not decreasing despite adherence to basic prevention measures, including education and training, appropriate use of chlorhexidine for skin antisepsis, and maximal sterile barrier precautions (1B).”

Renee Odehnal, MS, BSN, RN, VA-BC, CRNI Manager of Professional Education, Infection Risk Management for BIOPATCH at Ethicon, points to two key elements in the change. “The first is the importance of the use of chlorhexidine impregnated (CGI) dressings with an ‘FDA-cleared label that specifies a clinical indication for reducing catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI).’ The second element is the elevation of the CGI dressing recommendation to category 1A, the highest level granted by the CDC. Both of these changes reflect an emphasis on implementing evidence based practices and proven strategies in the fight against CRBSI.”

Odehnal believes that the updated guidelines can help healthcare facilities, which are currently grappling with such life-threatening infections. In the United States, for instance, approximately 250,000 CRBSIs are estimated to occur each year. These infections have shown to carry a high mortality rate of 12-25%, and extend hospital stays, the company reported in a news release.


“Implementing evidence based medicine should be a priority for any healthcare facility, and it can be a challenge to keep up with published evidence and best practices,” she told MD+DI. “However, publications such as the CDC’s updated guidelines, can help guide decision makers to choose products, procedures and practices that align with current knowledge and emerging evidence.”


Ethicon markets the BIOPATCH Protective Disk with CHG and describes the product as “the only IV dressing proven in multiple meta-analyses and randomized controlled trials to reduce risk of central line associated bloodstream infections in patients with central and arterial lines.”


William Jarvis, MD, an infection control specialist consulting for Ethicon, stated in the news release that he supports the CDC's revised recommendations. “The committee now aligns with the breadth of evidence-based data documenting the prevention benefit of CHG-impregnated sponge dressings, and BIOPATCH holds an FDA indication to reduce CRBSIs in patients with central and arterial lines," he said.


Visit BIOMEDevice San Jose December 6-7 to learn about next-generation medtech and healthcare products. For instance, the panel discussion, "Building Better Cross-Functional Teams for the Digital Health Explosion," will cover the convergence of healthcare and devices with IT, and feature these panelists:

Gregg Jackson | Principal Consultant, Gershon Medtech
Anupam Phukan | Senior Program Manager, mHealth-Data and Informatics Innovation, Medtronic
Charlie Dean | Vice President, R&D and Corporate Development, Apollo Endosurgery
Marta Gaia Zanchi, PhD | Vice President, Digital Health, Orbees Medical
Dagmar Beyerlein | Senior Director of Product Development, Drawbridge Health, Inc.

Daphne Allen

Daphne Allen is editor-in-chief of MD+DI. She previously served as executive editor of Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News, which serves as the pharmaceutical and medical device channel of Packaging Digest. Daphne has covered medical device packaging, labeling, manufacturing, and regulatory issues as well as pharmaceutical packaging for more than 20 years. She is also a member of the Institute of Packaging Professionals's Medical Device Packaging Technical Committee. Follow her on Twitter at @daphneallen.


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What is the recommendation for dressing durability? We find that dressing are being changed prematurely due to lack of adherence. Should a adjunct adhesive be used to keep the system closed for 7 days, if necessary?