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Epidemic bloodstream infections associated with pressure transducers: a persistent problem


Twenty-four outbreaks of nosocomial bloodstream infection (BSI) were investigated by the Centers for Disease Control from Jan 1, 1977 to Dec 31, 1987. Intravascular pressure monitoring devices (transducers) were the most commonly identified source of bacterial and fungal BSI outbreaks and were implicated as the source of infection in eight (33%) outbreaks. These included outbreaks caused by Candida parapsilosis (2), Serratia marcescens (2), Klebsiella oxytoca (1), Pseudomonas cepacia (1), Acinetobacter calcoaceticus (1), and one polymicrobial bacteremia outbreak due to Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, Citrobacter, and Enterobacter species. In all eight outbreaks, reusable transducers improperly disinfected or fitted with domes that had been improperly sterilized served as reservoirs for the organism. Compared with nosocomial BSI outbreaks not related to transducers, those in which transducers were implicated as a reservoir involved a larger mean number of patients (24 v 9; P = 0.007), and were significantly more likely to involve intensive care unit patients (23/24 v 3/9; P = 0.025) and to have a longer mean duration (11 v 3 months; P = 0.007). These findings show that the characteristics of transducer- and non-transducer-related BSI outbreaks differ, and that centers using intravascular pressure monitoring devices must be aware of and implement recommended infection control strategies for care and maintenance of these devices.

Beck-Sague CM, Jarvis WR

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 1989 Feb;10(2):54-9

PMID: 2926106