How should long-term tunneled central venous catheters be managed in microbiology laboratories in order to provide an accurate diagnosis of colonization?
J Clin Microbiol. 2012 Mar;50(3):1003-7
Authors: Guembe M, Martín-Rabadán P, Echenagusia A, Camúñez F, Rodríguez-Rosales G, Simó G, Echenagusia M, Bouza E
Guidelines recommend the roll-plate technique for short-term central venous catheter (CVC) tip cultures. However, the issue of whether the roll-plate technique is better than the sonication method for long-term CVCs remains unresolved. In addition, no data are available for predicting the value of direct Gram staining in anticipating catheter colonization or catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI) in these long-term CVCs. Our objectives were to compare the roll-plate technique and the sonication method and to define the validity values of Gram staining for the prediction of colonization and CRBSI in patients with long-term tunneled CVCs. During the study period, all tunneled CVCs removed at our institution were prospectively and routinely sent to the microbiology laboratory for Gram staining (first) and tip culture (the Maki technique and sonication, in a random order). We received 149 tunneled CVCs, 39 (26.2%) of which were colonized and 11 (7.4%) of which were associated with CRBSI. Overall, the roll-plate method detected 94.9% of the colonized catheters, whereas sonication detected only 43.6% (P < 0.001). The validity values of Gram staining for the detection of colonization and CRBSI were as follows: a sensitivity of 35.9% to 60.0%, a specificity of 100% to 94.2%, a positive predictive value of 100% to 42.9%, and a negative predictive value of 81.5% to 97.0%. The roll-plate technique proved to be better than sonication for the detection of bacteria in long-term tunneled CVCs. Gram staining of the tips of tunneled CVCs can anticipate a positive culture and rule out CRBSI. In our opinion, direct Gram staining should be incorporated into routine microbiological assessments of long-term catheter tips.
PMID: 22170928 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]