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Clinical significance of bacterial cultures in the vascular catheters in the intensive care unit

Clinical significance of bacterial cultures in the vascular catheters in the intensive care unit

Acta Anaesthesiologica Italica 32(5): 869-874

A retrospective study was carried out on the incidence and clinical significance of the bacterial complications resulting from prolonged vascular cannulation in an intensive care unit. Bacterial cultures were taken from 45 central venous, systemic and pulmonary catheters in 32 patients. Of these, 25 were males and 7 females, ranging in age from 13-81 yr. The incidence of positive cultures was greater in systemic arterial catheters (45.4%); it was 14.7% in central venous and arterial pulmonary catheters. The commonest colonies were those inherent to the catheters without any relationship to septic or thromboembolic phenomena. Duration of canulation was longer in central venous areas (16.6 days in the subclavian vein) than in arteries (8.6 days in the radial artery). Evidently, the bacteria found in vascular catheters in severely ill patients are non-pathogenic contaminants. Because of diminished local flow and narrow caliber, radial artery catheters are most frequently involved.

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