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When a patient requires long-term access to medication or fluids through an Intravenous (IV), a central line is put in place to provide easy access to a vein. It is placed into a large vein in the neck, chest, groin, arm or abdomen. This is used instead of having to frequently insert needles for treatments such as chemotherapy, antibiotics and intravenous fluids, and feeding, or to take samples of blood for testing. Patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) often require a central line since they are seriously ill, and will require a lot of medication, for a long period of time.

  • A central line blood stream infection (CLI-BSI) can occur when bacteria and / or fungi enters the blood stream, causing a patient to become sick. The bacteria can come from a variety of places (e.g., skin, wounds, environment, etc.), though it most often comes from the patient’s skin. Hospitals follow best practices on how to prevent bacteria from entering into a central line. Hospitals follow best practices on how to prevent bacteria from entering into a central line.  In Ontario, all hospitals with ICUs are required to report the number of CLI-BSI related to ICU care.  For our quarterly rates please see below:

Central line blood stream infection rates at The Ottawa Hospital:

Central line blood stream infection rates at The Ottawa Hospital
Civic Campus General Campus
# Cases *Number of Central Line Days Central Line Infection Incidents / 1,000 # Cases *Number of Central Line Days Central Line Infection Incidents / 1,000
Q1 – Apr to June  <5 2,065 0.48 1,300 0.00
Q2 – July to Sept <5 2,286 0.87 <5 1,395 0.72
Q3 – Oct to Dec 2,095 0.00 1,755 0.00
Q4 – Jan to Mar <5 2,025 0.49 1,627 0.00
Fiscal 2018-19 YTD <5 8,471 0.47 <5 6,077 0.16

Source: Critical Care Information System (CCIS)
** CLI Rate = (Number of CLI incidents Diagnosed after day 2 of Critical Care Admissions / Number of Central Line Days) x 1000
Cases occurring in a Critical Care Unit that reports to CCIS
Civic – ICU, Acute Monitoring Area, Neuro-Observation area, Trauma
General – ICU, Neuro Observation, Cardiac Care Unit
* 1-4 cases are to be reported as < 5