Henry Ford Task Force Reduces Catheter-related Bloodstream Infections in Hemodialysis Patients

The Henry Ford Medical Group in Detroit has a large dialysis program with high-risk patients; about 80 to 100 of these patients per month use a hemodialysis catheter for vascular access. Despite attempts to reduce catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSI) over a 3-year period, rates remained well above the national benchmark of 3.1/100 patient months. To address this issue, the Catheter Bacteremia Task Force was formed, involving Nephrology, Pharmacy Services, Infectious Diseases, Infection Control, and the Dialysis Administrator. This Task Force included the expertise and key leadership needed to make any potential intervention successful. The protocol involved instilling a gentamicin/trisodium citrate solution into the catheter lumen after each patient’s dialysis session.

Use of the antibiotic lock protocol decreased the average rate of CRBSI by almost 85%, avoiding an estimated 69 infections. The protocol was spread to three other dialysis units, resulting in a 24.5% reduction in mortality for dialysis patients. This improvement initiative reduced infections to below the national benchmark and reduced hospitalizations and unnecessary vascular access procedures which also translated into significant cost-savings.

For this innovative work, Henry Ford Health System won the Innovations in Healthcare Award in recognition of excellence in chronic kidney disease prevention and treatment.


Dwight Angell
Director of Public Affairs
Henry Ford Health System
One Ford Place
Detroit, Michigan

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