Parenteral nutrition (PN) is a valuable and life-saving treatment for patients with intestinal failure. While its use is increasing, it has been demonstrated to be a risk factor for intravenous catheter-related blood stream infection (CRBSI) – a significant, serious and potentially fatal complication of PN use. CRBSI can have serious secondary consequences for patients, though, there is a paucity of literature describing these. The aim of this study is to audit the incidence of, and evaluate the consequences of, complications associated with CRBSI.
Medical records were examined for all parenterally fed patients diagnosed with a CRBSI from 01/01/16 to 31/12/17 in a UK tertiary referral centre for patients requiring intravenous nutritional support. Patients were identified prospectively; data relating to the infection and complications was collected retrospectively.
114 episodes of CRBSI were recorded in 80 patients. 57 occurred during an inpatient admission, 57 occurred in the community and resulted in admission. 21 different adverse events occurred as a result of the CRBSI. The complications identified were varied with the most common being acute kidney injury, deranged electrolytes and urinary tract infections. Other significant complications included DVT, pulmonary abscess and infective endocarditis. 35% of episodes resulted in delayed discharge and 12% required escalation to a critical care bed. The financial impact is estimated at over £800,000 per annum.
The findings demonstrate a plethora of complications which can arise following CRBSI, which pose a significant health risk to parenterally fed patients who already have reduced physiological reserve. Moreover, these findings represent additional financial and resource burden to the health service. The adverse events resulting from CRBSIs should, therefore, be audited to improve outcomes: well-resourced specialist centres are best placed to provide this service.

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