Background and aims There is a high mortality and morbidity associated with catheter-related blood stream infections in neonates, yet no official UK guidelines exist for skin antisepsis prior to neonatal central venous catheter (CVC) insertion. This study aimed to identify which antiseptic solutions are currently being used for skin antisepsis before CVC insertion in UK neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).
Methods In October 2007 we surveyed all tertiary-level NICUs in the UK to ask about current practices for cutaneous antisepsis prior to CVC and umbilical catheter insertion.
Results Data were obtained from 50/50 (100%) NICUs approached. 8 different antiseptic preparations were being used (table). Chlorhexidine-based solutions were used by 86% of NICUs, and its concentration varied from 0.015–1%.
Conclusion These data show that there is no uniformity in type or concentration of antiseptic solutions being used for neonatal skin preparation prior to CVC insertion in the UK. Randomised controlled trials are warranted to find the optimal antiseptic solutions for use in neonates, preparations that will minimise both the risk of catheter-related morbidity and mortality and also any side effects associated with the use of these agents.