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Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections (CLABSI) Data


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The following reports from 2008-2011 present the number and rate of infections for central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) data for each facility required to report by regulation. Facilities are grouped by general size (i.e., <200 licensed beds, 201-500 licensed beds, and >501 licensed beds). 

More recent CLABSI data are available upon request as we update our report to show facility-specific counts (numbers) and standardized infection ratios. The standardized infection ratio (SIR) is a measure that compares the observed number of HAIs in a facility or state with the baseline U.S. experience (i.e., the standard population),adjusting for several risk factors that have been found to be most associated with differences in infection rates.

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Consider the following when interpreting the data contained in the CLABSI quarterly reports and when looking at healthcare-associated infection data in general:

  • Age, underlying illnesses, severity of disease, and other factors may place some patients at higher risk for infection.
  • Hospitals that treat more complex patients with greater risk of infection may have higher rates.
  • It is not advisable to try to compare the data from one hospital to another. Rates are affected by the types of patients seen in a hospital, the types of services provided by the hospital, and the frequency of central line use, which differ from hospital to hospital and make comparisons invalid. In addition, the intensity of surveillance efforts and the interpretation of surveillance criteria may also affect the rate.
  • Sometimes high rates are based on small numbers, so both the number and the rate should be taken into consideration. A higher rate of infection may indicate a true problem or simply better surveillance. A lower rate may reflect fewer infections, fewer high risk patients, or different levels of infection surveillance.
  • Infections are identified by trained hospital staff using standardized definitions. Data are reported directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).
  • Some, but not all, of the central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) data presented have been audited by the Virginia Department of Health. For more information on this project, please see the “VDH & VHHA CLABSI Data Audit Project and Webinar” section below.

Remember:  One single measure cannot be used to determine the overall quality of a hospital. You should talk to your physician and look at other sources of information when deciding where to receive care. For other resources to help choose where to receive care, please see the Consumer and Patient Information page – “Resources for Choosing a Provider” section.


VDH & VHHA CLABSI Data Audit Project and Webinar
From October 2010 to January 2011, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) conducted an audit of the central line-associated bloodstream infection data reported to VDH from January 1, 2010 to June 30, 2010. 

The purposes of the audit were to:

  • Assess the accuracy and completeness of selected CLABSIs reported to the NHSN on patients in adult intensive care units during the time period between January 1, 2010 and June 30, 2010
  • Identify issues leading to misclassification of CLABSIs
  • Evaluate current surveillance methods used to detect infections and associated denominators
  • Use the results to provide educational materials and lessons learned to infection preventionists across the Commonwealth

CLABSI data audit project final report

The methods, results, and lessons learned from the audit were shared with infection preventionists throughout Virginia via a recorded webinar on May 20, 2011.  Mary Andrus, Infection Preventionist Consultant from Surveillance Solutions Worldwide, Inc. and Andrea Alvarez, VDH HAI Program Coordinator, delivered the webinar.
A summary of some of the audit’s results:

  • Of the 319 total records reviewed, the auditors reviewed 107 positive blood cultures that were reported to NHSN by the hospitals as a CLABSI; all of these reports were confirmed by the auditors.  The auditors also reviewed 212 positive blood cultures that were not reported to NHSN by the hospitals as a CLABSI; only 3 of these (<1%) were misclassified and identified by the auditors as being CLABSIs.
  • Facilities were asked five questions to assess how accurately they counted central lines.  Nearly three-quarters (73%, n=27) answered all of the questions correctly. 
    • All facilities accurately responded that peripheral IVs are not counted as central lines.
    • Three facilities (8%) inaccurately noted that they count two lines if a patient has two separate lines. 
    • One facility said it would count two central line days if the patient had a temporary central line and a permanent central line.  In this instance, only one central line (the temporary) should be counted.  NHSN protocols dictate that central lines are to be counted at the same time each day. 
    • Five facilities (14%) said they would count a line if it was in place on the day but removed prior to the time of the central line count. 
    • Lastly, facilities were asked if they would count a permanent central line that had not been accessed since admission.  Two facilities (6%) indicated they would count the central line.
  • Some facilities described their quality assurance strategies.  Approximately one-third of facilities (35%, n=13) had multiple people review the same data.  One-fifth (22%, n=8) collected data in several ways; most of these validated their electronic data by collecting denominator data manually to compare findings. 
  • There are numerous strategies currently employed by facilities to conduct training for staff involved in CLABSI data collection and reporting.  These included annual competency skills review, staff orientation, ongoing staff education (on topics such as collection and criteria for patient days and central lines, hospital or clinical updates, and nursing documentation), use of NHSN materials, corporate webinars, and APIC (Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc.) webinars.

See Audio archive of the webinar (~90 minutes), Powerpoint  Presentation version or PDF version.


Last Updated: 10-30-2013

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