Use of impregnated catheters to decrease colonization rates in neonates – A randomized controlled pilot trial

Klemme, M., Staffler, A., De Maio, N., Lauseker, M., Schubert, S., Innocenti, P., Wurster, T.M., Foerster, K., Herber-Jonat, S., Mittal, R., Messner, H., Flemmer, A.W.* | JNPM 2020;


OBJECTIVE: Nosocomial infections increase mortality and morbidity in preterm infants. Central venous line colonization is a major risk factor for the development of such infections. In adults and children, antibiotic and antimycotic impregnated catheters have been demonstrated to reduce colonization. However, recently published data showed no significant difference in bloodstream infection in neonates when an impregnated catheter was used. We investigated the effect of impregnation of percutaneously inserted micro-catheters (PICC) on colonization in preterm and sick term infants in our unit.

METHODS: Neonates were randomly assigned to receive either a standard (S-PICC; n = 34) or antibiotic and antimycotic impregnated (IP-PICC; n = 37) PICC. Catheters were placed and removed according to a standard procedure and subsequently examined by roll-out culture. The primary outcome was the rate of colonization defined as >15 colony-forming-units/ml. Additional outcomes were catheter associated or systemic infections.

RESULTS: The rate of colonization was lower in neonates who received an IP-PICC as compared to S-PICC (5.6% vs. 12.1% respectively; p = 0.42). However, the difference was not significant. In IP-PICC vs S-PICC, catheter related local infection (CRI) although lower was not statistically significant (2.9% vs. 6.1%; p = 0.60). We observed no difference in catheter related systemic infection (CR-SI) (0% vs. 3.1%, p = 0.48). The neonates whose catheters were colonized were predominantly of a lower gestational age (median 254/7, p = 0.05) and males (100%, p = 0.01). In addition, the median colony count in the colonized IP-PICC catheters was lower as compared to S- PICC group (53 vs 250, p = 0.06).

CONCLUSIONS: The use of antibiotic and antimycotic impregnated PICC-lines in neonates tended to decrease colonization rates in neonates in our centers but this difference was not significant. Lower gestational age and male sex are risk factors for catheter colonization.

*Corresponding Author: 

Andreas W. Flemmer, Div. Neonatology, Dr. v. Hauner Children’s Hospital and Perinatal Center Munich - Grosshadern, Ludwig Maximilians University, Marchioninistreet 15, 81377 Munich, Germany. Tel.: +49 89 4400 72800; Fax: +49 89 4400 72809; E-mail: