Canterbury project to reduce central line infections leads the country

Thursday April 5, 2012

​Canterbury clinicians at Christchurch Hospital's Intensive Care Unit (ICU) lead the country in reducing hospital-acquired blood infections.

The hospital's ICU has just reached an important landmark as part of its participation in the national collaboration to prevent central line associated bacteraemia (CLAB).

Dr Dave Knight, Intensive Care Specialist, says it's been more than 100 days since the unit's last CLAB.

"This is great news for a project that represents a successful example of how a motivated, coordinated, multidisciplinary team can deliver tangible improvements to the health of Cantabrians."

About 50 percent of patients admitted to ICU will require a central venous catheter (a bloodstream catheter that is put into a large vein) and last year about 43 critically ill patients developed CLAB while in ICUs across the country.

Once established a CLAB carries a 10-50 percent mortality rate and adds between $20,000 to $50,000 to hospital costs.

International studies have demonstrated that many of these infections are preventable and so CLAB is one of the three key National Infection Prevention Control measures targeted by the Health Safety & Quality Commission (HSQC) and DHBs.

The CLAB prevention project is the first example of a national quality improvement collaboration between all the ICUs in New Zealand. Christchurch ICU is providing the lead for the South Island and already has a well established programme despite the project only being launched in October 2011.

"The measurement and prevention of central line associated bacteraemia (CLAB) has become one of the major quality targets for the critical care community. The end result will be safer patient care, shorter stays in ICU, and reduced cost – which can be spent on healthcare improvements," Dr Knight says.

Page last reviewed: 24 July 2013