Cluster-Randomized Trial of Devices to Prevent Catheter-Related Bloodstream Infection

Central venous catheters (CVCs) contribute disproportionately to bloodstream infection (BSI) and, by extension, to infection-related hospitalization, mortality, and health care costs in patients undergoing dialysis. Recent product advancements may reduce BSIs, but a sufficiently powered comparative-effectiveness study is needed to facilitate evidence-based patient care decisions. In a 13-month, prospective, cluster-randomized, open-label trial, we compared BSI rates in facilities using ClearGuard HD antimicrobial barrier caps (ClearGuard group) with those in facilities using Tego hemodialysis connectors plus Curos disinfecting caps (Tego+Curos group). Forty DaVita dialysis facilities in the United States were pair-matched by BSI rate, number of patients using CVCs, and geographic location, and then cluster randomized 1:1. We enrolled all adult patients undergoing dialysis with CVCs at these facilities, except those allergic to heparin or chlorhexidine. Overall, 1671 patients participated in the study, accruing >183,000 CVC-days. The study outcome was positive blood culture (PBC) rate as an indicator of BSI rate. We calculated results at the cluster level and adjusted for the facility cluster effect. During a 3-month run-in period immediately before study interventions, the groups had similar BSI rates (P=0.8). During the 13-month intervention period that immediately followed, the ClearGuard group had a BSI rate significantly lower than that of the Tego+Curos group (0.28 versus 0.75 PBCs per 1000 CVC-days, respectively; P=0.001). No device-related adverse events were reported. In conclusion, compared with Tego connectors plus Curos caps, ClearGuard HD antimicrobial barrier caps significantly lowered the rate of catheter-related BSIs in patients undergoing hemodialysis using CVCs, representing an important advancement in hemodialysis patient care.