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Use of antibiotic locks to treat colonized central venous catheters

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Andrew Berrington, Professor Kate Gould


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Infections that result from bacterial colonization of central venous catheters are a significant problem in modern healthcare. The most effective means of eradication of such infections is the removal of colonized lines, but line removal carries drawbacks of its own and in many cases the balance of risks favours treatment in situ. Systemic antibiotics are usually administered but these frequently fall to achieve sterilization, and accordingly attention has turned to intraluminal therapy using antibiotic locks, in which 1-2 mL of a concentrated antibiotic solution is instilled to fill the lumen, left for a predetermined period, and removed. The evidence in favour of this technique is anecdotal and should not be allowed to influence any decision about line removal, but is sufficiently encouraging to justify the use of locks when in situ treatment is deemed acceptable. Indications, agents and appropriate administration regimes are discussed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Berrington A, Gould FK

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Year: 2001

Volume: 48

Issue: 5

Pages: 597-603

ISSN (print): 0305-7453

ISSN (electronic): 1460-2091


DOI: 10.1093/jac/48.5.597