Disinfection of vascular catheter connectors that are protected by antiseptic caps is unnecessary

Kelsey M. Fillman, Jonathan H. Ryder, Daniel M. Brailita, Mark E. Rupp, R. Jennifer Cavalieri, Paul D. Fey, Elizabeth R. Lyden, Richard J. Hankins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Determination of whether vascular catheter disinfecting antiseptic-containing caps alone are effective at decreasing microbial colonization of connectors compared to antiseptic-containing caps plus a 5-second alcohol manual disinfection. Setting: The study was conducted in a 718-bed, tertiary-care, academic hospital. Patients: A convenience sample of adult patients across intensive care units and acute care wards with peripheral and central venous catheters covered with antiseptic-containing caps. Methods: Quality improvement study completed over 5 days. The standard-of-care group consisted of catheter connectors with antiseptic-containing caps cleaned with a 5-second alcohol wipe scrub prior to culture. The comparison group consisted of catheter connectors with antiseptic-containing caps without a 5-second alcohol wipe scrub prior to culture. The connectors were pressed directly onto blood agar plates and incubated. Plates were assessed for growth after 48-72 hours. Results: In total, 356 catheter connectors were cultured: 165 in the standard-of-care group, 165 in the comparison group, and 26 catheters connectors without an antiseptic-containing cap, which were designated as controls. Overall, 18 catheter connectors (5.06%) yielded microbial growth. Of the 18 connectors with microbial growth, 2 (1.21%) were from the comparison group, 1 (0.61%) was from the standard-of-care group, and 15 were controls without an antiseptic-containing cap. Conclusions: Bacterial colonization rates were similar between the catheter connectors cultured with antiseptic-containing caps alone and catheter connectors with antiseptic-containing caps cultured after a 5-second scrub with alcohol. This finding suggests that the use of antiseptic-containing caps precludes the need for additional disinfection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-39
Number of pages5
JournalInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 19 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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