Infectiontravascular catheters in hospitalized patients is an extremely important problem.1 Not only may infected intravenous (IV) catheter sites cause local damage (abscesses, pyophlebitis, etc), but subsequent bacteremia may cause widely disseminated infection, producing the syndrome of severe sepsis, septic shock, and/or the multiple organ dysfunction syndrome.2 Such linerelated infectious complications cause serious added morbidity and occasionally death in patients initially admitted to hospitals for minor, noninfectious conditions.1 It is important, therefore, to analyze risks for IV line infections, and the article by Lipsky and colleagues3 in this issue attempts to do so.
The aforementioned article examines the hypothesis that there might be a positive relationship between nasal colonization with Staphylococcus aureus and the development of catheter-related phlebitis. At the outset, there is a semantic problem that is important to address: one needs to define the difference between "phlebitis" generated by and "infection" of an indwelling
Sheagren JN. Nasal Carriage of Staphylococcus aureus and Intravenous Catheter Phlebitis and Sepsis. Arch Intern Med. 1992;152(10):1971-1972. doi:10.1001/archinte.1992.00400220009002