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Article
November 18, 1968

Septicemia Related to Indwelling Venous Catheter

Author Affiliations

From the departments of medicine, and preventative medicine and community health, University of Illinois College of Medicine and Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital, Chicago. Dr. Bentley is now with the Veterans Administration West Side Hospital, Chicago.

JAMA. 1968;206(8):1749-1752. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150080029005
Abstract

Indwelling venous catheters were responsible for 19 of 44 hospital-acquired septicemias. The catheter was in place an average of 5.2 days and was associated with phlebitis or infected wounds or both in 18 cases (95%). Etiologic agents were Staphylococcus aureus, 13; gramnegative bacilli, 5; and a nonpathogenic yeast. Neither associated diseases (12) nor inappropriate diagnosis (12) nor treatment (9) influenced survival (17 [89%]), provided the catheter was removed. Both related deaths were due to S aureus; endocarditis was a complication in one. The septicemia rate for the 756 patients with catheters in place more than 48 hours was 2.5%. House physicians maintained 10% of the total catheters but were responsible for 17 (89%) of the related septicemias. We recommend daily observation of the catheter and immediate removal from phlebitic sites.

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