The use of catheters to deliver treatment into a patient’s blood stream and monitor their progress is common practice. However the process creates a potential entry point for infection. Of particular concern are blood stream infections caused by central line catheters which are inserted into the blood vessels near the heart. Such infections are known as central line associated bacteraemia (CLAB) and their prevention is vital in the fight against healthcare associated infections.
CLAB can lead to longer hospital stays and associated costs. The cost of each CLAB is estimated to be between $20,000 and $54,000.
The CLAB collaborative reduced the incidence of CLAB in intensive care units to one-tenth of its previous level, saving much harm and about $0.5million per annum. The CLAB initiative is now locally and regionally led by all district health boards in New Zealand.