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WHO launches global guidelines on catheter use

Geneva, May 9 (Prensa Latina) The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday launched the first global guidelines to prevent the occurrence of bloodstream and other infections caused by use of catheters placed in minor blood vessels during medical procedures.

Developing and implementing guidance to prevent the spread of such infections has been a key priority for WHO.

The new guidelines include 14 good practice statements and 23 recommendations on key areas for health workers, including education and training of health workers, techniques of asepsis and hand hygiene practices, insertion, maintenance, access, removal of catheters, and catheter selection.

According to experts, poor practices in the insertion, maintenance and removal of these catheters carry a high risk of introducing germs directly to the bloodstream, which can lead to serious conditions such as sepsis, and difficult-to-treat complications in major organs like brain and kidneys.

Soft tissue infections at the insertion site of the catheter can also occur.

Up to 70% of all in-patients require the use of a catheter inserted into a peripheral vein or artery, also known as peripherally inserted catheters (PIVCs), at some point during their hospital stay.

People who receive catheter-based treatments are often particularly vulnerable to infections, as they may be seriously ill or have low immunity.

According to WHO estimates, between 2000 and 2018, average mortality among patients affected by healthcare-associated sepsis was 24.4%, rising to 52.3% among patients treated in ICUs.

Many bloodstream infections are caused by antibiotic resistant bacterial infections.

It is estimated that bacterial antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was directly responsible for at least 1.27 million deaths and contributed to an additional 4.95 million deaths in 2019.

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