This project proposes to answer the following questions:
To determine the incidence of infection with three primary schedules of central venous
catheter exchange in pediatric burn patients and to determine the regimen that will minimize
infectious risk in children with burns.
The scientific knowledge to be acquired through this project is of likely benefit to the
care of children with orthopaedic problems, spinal cord injuries or burns as follows:
The intention is to improve the outcomes in burned children by minimizing one of the most
frequent causes of infection in the burn intensive care unit, those from central venous
catheters. Decreasing infections will decrease morbidity, decrease length of stay, decrease
costs, and decrease mortality in burned children
Aim: To determine the incidence of infection with three primary schedules of central venous
catheter exchange in pediatric burn patients and to create a system that will minimize
infectious risk in this patient population.
Hypothesis: A strategy of routine catheter changes without guidewire exchange will result in
no more infections and a decreased risk of mechanical complications over frequent guidewire
exchange or frequent new-site replacement.
Background: Reviews of burned children have implied that it is safe to change CVCs on a
weekly basis, either by new site insertion or by wire exchange. In non-burn populations the
routine use of wire exchange may increase infectious risk. Laboratory investigations have
shown that the longer catheters are in place, the more often they are colonized with
bacteria; this translates to an increase in catheter infection and patient sepsis. Centers
for Disease Control recommendations note that catheters should not be routinely changed.
The burn literature has disagreed with this concept, proffering that the change in microbial
milieu from the burn wound increases infection risk, and national data indicates that burn
units have three to four times higher rates of catheter related bloodstream infections than
do other intensive care units. There is a trend in the existent retrospective data that
using wires to change central venous catheters increases the risk of infection: CVCs changed
to a new site have an infection rate of 16.6 per 1000 catheter days, whereas those changed
by means of a wire have a rate of 25.2 per 1000 catheter days.
Methods: Patients will be randomized to three intervention groups: a frequent (6 days)
moving of catheters to new sites; an alternating schedule of wire exchanges and new sites
(every 6 and 12 days); and a less frequent moving of catheters to new sites (12 days)
without wire exchange. This project requires enough patients to show a difference between
three intervention groups. A significant decrease in infection rate would be from the
current 20 infections per 1000 catheter days to approximately 15 per 1000 catheter days.
This would require a minimum of 1000 catheter days per group.
- Burn patient with central venous catheter