Intravascular catheters are used to give fluids and blood products, drugs and parenteral nutrition, and to facilitate haemodialysis and haemodynamic monitoring. Bloodstream infection is the commonest serious complication associated with their use, occurring in around 6,000 people each year in the UK.1 Catheter-related infection is now the most frequent cause of hospital-acquired bacteraemia in critically ill patients.2,3 Here, we review the prevention and management of such infections. We concentrate on adult patients, but many of the issues discussed will apply also to infants and children.
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