Blood Management
June 2, 2021

Fighting CLABSI with Safer Blood Sampling Tools

What is CLABSI? In our latest article, we discuss the seriousness of these infections and how NICU staff can help prevent them.
What is CLABSI? In our latest article, we discuss the seriousness of these infections and how NICU staff can help prevent them.

Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) occur when bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms enter a patient’s bloodstream via the central line. Catheters of this sort are often necessary for accessing and monitoring patients’ vascular systems, but they come with an increased risk for CLABSI and other local or systemic complications. In fact, central line-associated bloodstream infections are the most life-threatening form of healthcare-associated infection (HAI) with a mortality rate ranging from 12-25 percent, making it one of the most lethal HAIs. Around $2.3 billion is spent each year treating and managing these serious infections, and treating a CLABSI costs $45,000 on average.

The primary symptom of CLABSI is the sudden onset of a fever or chills after flushing a catheter line, which is a sign that cell clusters of biofilm have detached and entered the patient’s bloodstream. Redness and soreness around the central catheter line insertion point are also common.

Part of the pervasiveness of CLABSI has to do with how skin sterilization and insertion processes remove most, but not all, organisms from the patients’ skin. For this reason, NICU staff must adhere to strict infection control and CLABSI prevention best practices when inserting central line catheters to make sure the system remains sterile. Staff can play an active role in preventing CLABSI by using sterile barrier precautions (eg. mask, cap, gown, sterile gloves) and using blood sampling tools specifically designed to reduce bloodstream infections.

What Causes CLABSI?

Approximately 87 percent of all bloodstream infections are associated with the presence of intravascular devices, usually central lines. Both tunneled and non-tunneled catheters can be placed into the umbilical artery or vein, internal jugular, subclavian, or femoral vein. Non-tunneled catheters that are placed percutaneously account for most CLABSIs. CLABSIs that occur days after insertion are usually caused by contamination of the hub, typically from a healthcare provider’s contaminated hands. In most cases, this is due to a breach of standard aseptic precautions to access the line or catheter hub. Less common mechanisms include hematogenous seeding of bacteria from another source or from a contaminated infusate.

Certain host factors can also increase a patient’s risk for CLABSI. These include chronic illnesses, immunosuppressed states, malnutrition, and more. Catheters placed in the femoral vein have the highest risk for CLABSI. Catheter type and the skill of the operator can also play a role in improving CLABSI prevention best practices.

Preventing CLABSI with Improved Blood Sampling Methods

A comprehensive approach is required to minimize neonates’ risk of CLABSI during blood sampling. Sophisticated sampling methods are important but only part of the picture. Properly trained healthcare providers who follow industry best practices and guidelines as they use clinically proven tools and products are just as vital. The most important action that healthcare providers can take to prevent CLABSI is to ensure that they’re using the latest in vascular access technology, especially tools designed to limit opportunities for infection.

The Hummi Micro Draw Blood Transfer device from Kentec Medical reduces blood waste and minimizes infection risk better than open stopcock systems. The Hummi Blood Transfer device is a needleless, closed system with no inline parts or pieces where residual blood can collect and breed bacteria, and no blood drippage or exposure for the caregiver. Since the Hummi Blood Transfer device leaves no residual blood in line after the blood draw, there is reduced opportunity for bacterial growth. Also, the Hummi Micro Draw Blood Transfer device only requires one access to the central line, which reduces clearance and flush volumes by 70% as compared to in-line blood draw systems.

Access directly to the catheter hub is provided with the Micro Draw device blunt tube through a Micro T split septum T-connector with an opening of only 1mm, providing the smallest footprint of any blunt cannula used for access to a catheter. The Micro T Connector from Kentec Medical has been validated with the Hummi Micro Draw device for over 100 insertions and also has tested and validated built-in microbial barrier protection to further reduce infection risk during access.

Improve Your CLABSI Prevention Processes with Kentec Medical

Vascular access systems are an integral part of NICU care, and healthcare providers must work continually to reduce central line-associated bloodstream infection rates and keep our most vulnerable patients safe. The Hummi Micro Draw Blood Transfer device is the only product on the market that reduces infection risk and risk factors for intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), and periventricular leukomalacia (PVL). When it comes to caring for fluid-restricted patients with low gestational age and very low birth weights, reducing infection risk and IVH/PVL risk is key to long-term clinical success and better patient outcomes.

Interested in outfitting your hospital with the latest innovation in CLABSI prevention? Kentec Medical is here to help! We’re experienced at helping procurement managers get a range of vital NICU products and tools — including the Hummi — into their hospitals to improve patient outcomes. We’ll be with you every step of the way to ensure the smoothest rollout possible. Contact us today to learn more about what we offer.

Works Cited

  • Haddadin Y, Annamaraju P, Regunath H. Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infections. [Updated 2020 Dec 14]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from:
  • O’Grady NP, Alexander M, Dellinger EP, Gerberding JL, Heard SO, Maki DG, et al. Guidelines for the prevention of intravascular catheter-related infections. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2002;51 (RR10):1-29
  • Zimlichman, E., Henderson, D., Tamir, O., Franz, C., Song, P., Yamin, C. K., Keohane, C., Denham, C. R., & Bates, D. W. (2013). Health Care–Associated Infections. JAMA Internal Medicine, 173(22), 2039.