Central line-associated blood stream infection

A central line or central venous catheter is a catheter (tube) that is passed through a vein that ends near the right atrium of the heart. Central lines are used to deliver medications and fluids to patients and to withdraw blood.

Infections are a risk in any hospitalization. When patients have central venous catheters, they are at higher risk for serious infections, especially if bacteria get into the bloodstream. It is important to take careful precautions to avoid introducing harmful bacteria into patients’ systems. Bloodstream infections are serious and can cause a patient to stay in the hospital for a longer time and can increase the risk of death. While not all central-line infections are preventable, our goal is to avoid preventable infections completely.

Inserting and monitoring central venous catheters using research-based techniques can decrease or eliminate the number of central-line associated bloodstream infections. Health care providers follow specific guidelines for insertion, such as using a sterile barrier, proper hand hygiene, chlorhexidine for skin disinfection, and avoidance of the femoral (groin) insertion site. Once the central line has been inserted, it is important for health care providers to monitor the insertion site, use recommended sterile techniques, and remove catheters when they are no longer needed.  

About this measure

This measure tracks the rate of central line-associated bloodstream infections per 1000 days of central line use among adult patients who had a central line while in the Intensive Care Unit. 

Please note: The NDNQI database is proprietary and we cannot display the comparison data, but we receive reports quarterly which indicate how our hospital compares to the database.  That comparison is expressed as "observed" vs. "expected." The central line-associated blood stream infection rate for this measure is expressed as the observed (actual) rate of blood stream infectons compared to the expected rate of blood stream infections. A value of 1.0 would mean that the rate of blood stream infection was exactly as expected. A rate higher than 1.0 means that the rate was higher (worse) than expected, and a rate below 1.0 means that the rate was lower (better) than expected. In some quarters, our observed rate was below 1.0, or better than expected, and in some quarters, our observed rate was above 1.0, or worse than expected.

In this case, a lower number is better.

Most Recent Available Data (Ratio of Observed Rate to Expected Rate (per 1000 days))
  2014 Q1
Northwestern Memorial 1.66
Academic Medical Centers Comparison 1
Performance Trend (Ratio of Observed Rate to Expected Rate (per 1000 days))
  2012 Q2 2012 Q3 2012 Q4 2013 Q1 2013 Q2 2013 Q3 2013 Q4 2014 Q1
Northwestern Memorial 1.32 1.14 0.72 1.25 1.25 1.56 1.8 1.66
Academic Medical Centers Comparison 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Source:National comparison data are a product of the American Nurses Association's National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI).
Central Line-Associated Blood Stream Infection Rate