Heart Institute

Lower Rates of Central Line-Associated Infections at the Heart Institute


Our central line-associated bloodstream infection rate from 2010 to 2013

What is a central line-associated bloodstream infection?

The blood of a healthy person is typically very clean. A patient can get sick if bacteria enter the bloodstream. How do bacteria get in the blood? Bacteria can sometimes enter through the use of a central line, which is a small plastic tube catheter placed into the blood vessels near the heart (used to deliver medicine and nutritional supplements, and to draw blood tests and monitor blood pressure). Children are at increased risk of getting bacteria into their bloodstream the longer they have a central line.  

Why do we measure this rate of infection? What is the source of this data?

Our overall goal is to never have a bloodstream infection. We measure the rate of bloodstream infections from a central line to be able to find ways to prevent them in the future. Our goal is to reduce infection rates, reduce potential complications for our patients, and ultimately help kids get better faster.

How has the Heart Institute at Children's Colorado been able to reduce these infections?

We have a number of projects in place to reduce the possibility of an infection, including using antibiotics before an operation, following best practices for inserting and taking care of central lines, and working with colleagues throughout the nation to develop best practices and learn from each other.

Central Line Associated Bloodstream Infection 2013 

Our performance has improved from 2010 to 2013

Children's Hospital Colorado measures its Central Line Associated-Bloodstream Infection rate as the number of infections per 1,000 central line days (the total number of days patients had a central line in place). This is the measurement style endorsed by Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We compare our Central Line Associated bloodstream Infection rate to the National Health and Safety Network (NHSN), a branch of the CDC, benchmarks.  

Children’s Colorado Cardiac Intensive Care Unit’s rate of line infections in 2012 was 1.3 per 1,000 central line days. In 2013, the CICU decreased this number to 0.3 per 1,000 central line days, and was awarded the hospital’s quality pillar award for exceptional work in preventing central line infections in patients. 

The Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital Colorado went 429 days without a central line infection.

About this data

What is the source of this data?

This data is collected by the Department of Epidemiology at Children's Hospital Colorado using information provided to them by the Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery teams.

Do we have a national benchmark?

Yes. Children's Colorado uses the NHSN benchmark as endorsed by the CDC.

How often should the data be updated?

We continually track our infection rates and will publicly report data on this website.

Read how we've been able to reduce infection rates after cardiothoracic surgery.