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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Safe insertion of central lines

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 percentage of time the hospital complies with insertion guidelines for preventing central line infections in intensive care units.

Note: In this measure, a higher number is better.

Most Recent Available Data (Percent)
  2012 Q4
Northwestern Memorial 99
NM Goal 95
Performance Trend (Percent)
  2011 Q1 2011 Q2 2011 Q3 2011 Q4 2012 Q1 2012 Q2 2012 Q3 2012 Q4
Northwestern Memorial 99 99 100 100 99 100 99 99
NM Goal 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95
Source:Northwestern Memorial Hospital
CVC, compliance with guidelines
Last UpdateDecember 18, 2012

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