Infectious Disease

COVID-19 hygiene practices scale back catheter-related infections in hemodialysis facilities

January 05, 2021

1 min read

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Researchers from Italy observed a “dramatic” reduction in central venous catheter-related infections after hygienic procedures were carried out in hemodialysis facilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hygienic precautionary measures are an essential aspect of dialysis care for infection prevention, but are not sufficient to completely avoid the occurrence of precautionary measures [central venous catheter] CVC-related infections “ Marco Heidempergher, the Department of Nephrology at ASST Fatebenefratelli Sacco in Milan and colleagues wrote. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, hygienic precautions to prevent virus transmission were significantly strengthened.”

Reducing infection

Using data from two hemodialysis units connected to the University of Milan (a total of 215 patients; 33% used a CVC), Heidempergher and colleagues compared the catheter-related infection rates during the “maximum spread” of the pandemic (defined as February to May 2020) with infection rates these months of the previous year and from 2019 in total.

“Infection rates dropped dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, with only one catheter-related bloodstream infection recorded,” the researchers wrote, observing a 91% decrease in catheter-related bloodstream infections compared to February through May 2019 and an 83% decrease as they compared the rates with all of 2019.

“We suspect that the health workers, nurses and doctors who face such a dramatic event have changed their approach [toward] how they work, ”suggested Heidempergher and colleagues. “The attention has been maximized. Fear of the spread of COVID-19 infection among patients and healthcare workers has maximized the effectiveness of joint patient care in preventing other infections. “

According to Heidempergher and colleagues, the reduction in infection rates is likely due to this increased vigilance and “strict” hygiene standards, including the use of surgical masks, increased hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, elimination of snacks during dialysis, and elimination of blankets.

“This study supports the concept that a significant reduction in current CVC-related infection rates can be achieved in patients undergoing hemodialysis,” they concluded.

“COVID-19 may have reminded us of one of the most basic lessons in medicine: hygiene first.”

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