Background: Catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI) results in significant attributable morbidity and mortality. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, we studied the efficacy and safety of a daily ethanol lock for the prevention of CRBSI in patients with a tunnelled central venous catheter (CVC). Methodology: From 2005 through 2008, each lumen of the CVC of adult hematology patients was locked for 15 minutes per day with either 70%-ethanol or placebo, where after the lock solution was flushed through. As a primary endpoint, the incidence rates of endoluminal CRBSI were compared. Principal Findings: The intent-to-treat analysis was based on 376 patients, accounting for 448 CVCs and 27,745 catheter days. For ethanol locks, the incidence of endoluminal CRBSI per 1000 CVC-days was 0.70 (95%-CI, 0.4-1.3), compared to 1.19 (95% confidence interval, 0.7-1.9) for placebo (incidence rate-ratio, 0.59; 95% confidence interval, 0.27-1.30; P = .19). For endoluminal CRBSI according to the strictest definition (positive hub culture and identical bacterial strain in blood), a 3.6-fold, non-significant, reduction was observed for patients receiving ethanol (2 of 226 versus 7 of 222; P = .103). No lifethreatening adverse events were observed. More patients receiving ethanol discontinued lock-therapy (11 of 226 versus 1 of 222; P = .006) or continued with decreased lock-frequency (10 of 226 versus 0 of 222; P = .002), due to non-severe adverse events. Conclusions: In this study, the reduction in the incidence of endoluminal CRBSI using preventive ethanol locks was nonsignificant, although the low incidence of endoluminal CRBSI precludes definite conclusions. Therefore, the lack of statistical significance may partially reflect a lack of power. Significantly more patients treated with ethanol locks discontinued their prophylactic treatment due to adverse effects, which were non-severe but reasonably ethanol related. Additional studies should be performed in populations with higher incidence of (endoluminal) CRBSI. Alternative sources of bacteremia, like exoluminal CRBSI or microbial translocation during chemotherapy-induced mucositis may have been more important in our patients. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00122642.

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0010840, hdl.handle.net/1765/28688
Citation
Slobbe, L, Doorduijn, J.K, Lugtenburg, P.J, Barzouhi, A.E, Boersma, H, van Leeuwen, W.B, & Rijnders, B.J.A. (2010). Prevention of catheter-related bacteremia with a daily ethanol lock in patients with tunnelled catheters: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial. PLoS ONE, 5(5). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010840