Sir.—I was a little disturbed by a sentence in the interesting article by Virnig and Reynolds, which appeared in the August issue of the Journal (128:186, 1974). In "Materials and Methods," the authors stated that "Blood specimens for culture were obtained from either umbilical vessel catheters immediately after insertion, or from peripheral vessels." With this method, "Blood cultures of samples from nine of the 20 babies in whom they were performed were positive...." As the umbilicus is heavily contaminated and not easily sterilized, umbilical catheters are regularly contaminated during their insertion. Krauss et al1 and Balactas et al2 reported a high incidence of contaminated umbilical catheters (57% and 52%, respectively). In a recent study,3 we found that 47 out of 75 catheters (63%) inserted aseptically following a very careful cleansing procedure were contaminated. It is not surprising, therefore, that blood cultures obtained via umbilical catheters are
ANAGNOSTAKIS D. Epidemiological Aspects of Neonatal Necrotizing Enterocolitis. Am J Dis Child. 1975;129(3):393–394. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1975.02120400087026
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