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Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia associated with peripherally inserted central catheters: the role of chlorhexidine gluconate-impregnated sponge dressings

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To the Editor: Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB) is an important health care-associated infection that is often related to indwelling vascular catheters.1 Peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) are increasing in popularity for providing long-term central access, enabling earlier hospital discharge and reducing inpatient costs.2 Despite increased use of PICCs, little has been published on the risks of PICC-associated SAB (PA-SAB). We sought to characterise the frequency of PA-SABs at our institution and analyse the effect of using a chlorhexi-dine gluconate-impregnated sponge (CHGIS) dressing on the PA-SAB rate.

All SAB episodes at Monash Health are investigated by the Department of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology. A PA-SAB was defined as a health care-associated SAB in a patient with a PICC in situ (or removed within 7 days before the positive blood culture) with no other source of SAB identified and written documentation or clinical findings suggesting a PICC source.3 The data for this study included all PA-SAB episodes during 2007–2012.

All PICCs at our institution are inserted by a radiologist from the diagnostic imaging service under sterile conditions. In January 2011,…