March 11, 1988

Dressing Regimens and Intravenous Catheter—Related Infections

Author Affiliations

Harborview Medical Center Seattle

Harborview Medical Center Seattle

JAMA. 1988;259(10):1498. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720100020023

To the Editor.  —The original designation by Maki et al1 that the presence of greater than 15 colony-forming units (CFUs) on semiquantitative catheter culture reflects a positive result was derived from a study in which this criterion allowed some separation of catheters associated with local inflammation from those without catheter site inflammation and included all catheters responsible for catheter-related sepsis.The results of the more recent study about catheter infection by Maki and Ringer2 challenge the validity of the label "catheter-related infection" for catheters that yield greater than 15 CFUs on semiquantitative culture and call into question the utility of this definition when applied to the carefully managed use of modern Teflon peripheral venous catheters. Not only were no cases of catheter-related sepsis encountered in this study despite the presence of 107 so-called catheter-related infections, but there apparently was not even an association between these colonized catheters and