Nosocomial Bloodstream Infections in Patients Receiving Extracorporeal Life Support: Variability in Prevention Practices: A Survey of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization Members

Publication Date

January 2015

Journal Title

J Intensive Care Med


Nosocomial blood stream infections (BSIs) increase both the morbidity and the mortality of patients receiving extracorporeal life support (ECLS). The aim of this study was to identify common practices for blood stream infection prevention among national Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) programs. An electronic survey that comprised of a 16-item questionnaire was sent out to all ECMO program directors and coordinators within the United States that are part of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) registry. A total of 152 institutions in 40 states were surveyed, with 85 (55%) responses. One-quarter of the institutions responded that an ECMO infection-prevention bundle or checklist was used during the cannulation. Less than half responded that an ECMO infection-prevention bundle or checklist was used for cannula maintenance, although a majority (82.9%) of institutions responded that a "standard approach to cannula dressings" was used. Half of the respondents reported antimicrobial prophylaxis was routinely prescribed for patients on ECMO, although specific regimens varied widely. Of the institutions, 34.2% reported sending daily blood cultures as part of routine surveillance. Smaller programs were more likely to send daily surveillance blood cultures (58.8%, P < .01). We found no clear consensus on practices used to prevent BSI in patients receiving ECMO.

Document Type


EPub Date



School of Medicine

Primary Department






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