Podcast 824: Catheter-Related Blood Infections - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 824: Catheter-Related Blood Infections

Contributor: Travis Barlock, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Catheter related blood infections were thought to be caused by skin flora seeding the catheter. Thus, significant effort is applied to sterility and skin preparation.  
  • However, studies have shown that bacteria growing on the tip of the catheter is not consistent with growth on cultures of skin.  
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis is commonly found on cultures of catheter sites. It has also been found in the gut flora of >50% of ICU patients. Rates of catheter related blood infections have been decreased through oral decontamination and early feeding. 
  • These findings suggest enteral bacterial translation as a major source of blood stream infection.


O’Grady NP, Alexander M, Burns LA, et al. Guidelines for the prevention of intravascular catheter-related infections. Clin Infect Dis. 2011;52(9):e162-e193. doi:10.1093/cid/cir257

von Eiff C, Becker K, Machka K, Stammer H, Peters G. Nasal carriage as a source of Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia. Study Group. N Engl J Med. 2001;344(1):11-16. doi:10.1056/NEJM200101043440102

ALTEMEIER WA, HUMMEL RP, HILL EO. Staphylococcal enterocolitis following antibiotic therapy. Ann Surg. 1963;157(6):847-858. doi:10.1097/00000658-196306000-00003

Marshall JC, Christou NV, Horn R, Meakins JL. The microbiology of multiple organ failure. The proximal gastrointestinal tract as an occult reservoir of pathogens. Arch Surg. 1988;123(3):309-315. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1988.01400270043006

Mrozek N, Lautrette A, Aumeran C, et al. Bloodstream infection after positive catheter cultures: what are the risks in the intensive care unit when catheters are routinely cultured on removal?. Crit Care Med. 2011;39(6):1301-1305. doi:10.1097/CCM.0b013e3182120190

Atela I, Coll P, Rello J, et al. Serial surveillance cultures of skin and catheter hub specimens from critically ill patients with central venous catheters: molecular epidemiology of infection and implications for clinical management and research. J Clin Microbiol. 1997;35(7):1784-1790. doi:10.1128/jcm.35.7.1784-1790.1997

Tani T, Hanasawa K, Endo Y, et al. Bacterial translocation as a cause of septic shock in humans: a report of two cases. Surg Today. 1997;27(5):447-449. doi:10.1007/BF02385710


Summarized by Kirsten Hughes, MS4 | Edited by John Spartz, MS4 & Erik Verzemnieks, MD

In an effort to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in Emergency Medicine, The Emergency Medical Minute is proud to present our 2nd annual Diversity and Inclusion Award. We support increasing the representation of underrepresented groups in medicine and extend this award to individuals applying to emergency medicine residencies during the 2022-2023 cycle. For information on award eligibility and the application process, visit https://emergencymedicalminute.com/edi-award/

Donate to EMM today!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Stay up to date by
joining our mailing list!