Routine changes of disposables Care of intravascular catheters

• Sites should be covered with transparent semipermeable dressings to allow observation and prevent secretions from accumulating.

• Routine changes of intravascular catheters are no longer recommended. As the risk of infection does increase considerably after a week in situ, catheters should be removed as soon as clinically feasible.

• Catheters can be changed over a guidewire if the site looks clean but signs suggestive of mild to moderate infection are present elsewhere, (e.g. pyrexia or unexplained neutrophilia) but without major cardiorespiratory disturbance.

• Catheters should be changed to a fresh site if:

• the old site appears infected

• the patient shows signs of severe infection

• a positive growth is obtained from a blood culture drawn through the catheter or from the tip of the previous catheter

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