"Even when clinicians follow meticulously basic rules of catheter insertion and maintenance, the risk of infection is never zero," Milstone said. "Reducing the time a child has a PICC is one extra step to minimize that risk."
Researchers found an 80% higher risk of bloodstream infections among children in the ICU than in regular units. However, the study also showed that more than 30% of all infections occurred in children outside of the ICU. Twenty-two percent of infections occurred after patients left the hospital, the researchers found, a finding that points to the importance of educating both parents and home-based caregivers on ways to prevent infections at home.
"Children in intensive care have more severe disease and often require catheters, but it is critical that we remain vigilant about patients with perceived 'lower risk' outside of intensive care, and indeed those outside of the hospital, because they are not immune to infections," said lead investigator Sonali Advani.