Infection Prevention

Taking down central line-associated bloodstream infections

Barnes-Jewish Hospital Infection Prevention LogoUse of vascular catheters is common in both inpatient and outpatient care. In the United States, it is estimated that almost 300 million catheters are used each year; nearly 3 million of these are central venous catheters, also known as central lines.

According to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) continues to be one of the most deadly and costly hospital-associated infections in the U.S.

Number of CLABSI
Number of CLASBI by Best in Class (click to enlarge)

Team members at Barnes-Jewish Hospital are excited about their continued success in decreasing CLABSIs in the intensive care units from 20 to 13 this year. Each year, we rethink our processes, which has enabled us to consistently reduce these types of infections.

A new policy for central-line tubing and needleless adaptors was implemented in 2012, making it mandatory for these to be changed at least every 96 hours, or four days. Initially, the process was to date each central line and needleless adaptor, but that was replaced this year by a mandatory replacement every Wednesday and Sunday. The new process has been implemented in neurology, surgery and the medicine units; rollout to the rest of the hospital is anticipated by mid-2015.


In 2014, the presence of Ebola disease in the United States became a growing concern. Barnes-Jewish Hospital and its physician partners at Washington University School of Medicine, took significant steps to ready the hospital and our team members should we receive a patient with known or suspected Ebola. Watch the video for more details.

Preparations for Ebola disease - video
Preparations for Ebola disease

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