What is a central line or central venous catheter?

Central lines, also called central venous catheters, are tubes placed into a patient's large vein, often in the neck, chest, arm or groin. They are called "central" because they end near the patient's heart. The catheters may be used to take blood samples or to give medications and fluids. Central lines may be left in place for several weeks, and are often needed for today's complex patient care.

What is a central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI)?

A CLABSI can occur when germs multiply on the central line material and enter the bloodstream. A CLABSI can cause fevers and chills, or the skin around the catheter may become red and tender. A CLABSI can be dangerous to patients and can lead to serious complications, even death, especially for critically ill patients. At UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco, the Intensive Care Nursery and other pediatric intensive care units care for the sickest, most fragile babies and children who may require central line catheters.

How does UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco measure CLABSI?

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco measures CLABSI rates according to the methods of the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate is expressed as the number of infections per 1,000 central line days (the total number of days patients have a central line in place). For example, if two patients had a central line for five days each, that is a total of 10 central line days.

What is the CLABSI rate at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco?

Lower is better when comparing these infection rates. UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco achieved a rate of 1.17 CLABSI/1,000 central line days in fiscal year 2020.

Our ultimate goal is to have zero central line-associated bloodstream infections in our hospital.