Antiseptic barrier cap effective in reducing central line-associated bloodstream infections: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Anne F Voor In 't Holt, Onno K Helder, Margreet C Vos, Laura Schafthuizen, Sandra Sülz, Agnes van den Hoogen, Erwin Ista

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Microorganisms can intraluminally access a central venous catheter via the catheter hub. The catheter hub should be appropriately disinfected to prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs). However, compliance with the time-consuming manual disinfection process is low. An alternative is the use of an antiseptic barrier cap, which cleans the catheter hub by continuous passive disinfection. Objective To compare the effects of antiseptic barrier cap use and manual disinfection on the incidence of CLABSIs. Design Systematic review and meta-analysis. Methods We systematically searched Embase, Medline Ovid, Web-of-science, CINAHL EBSCO, Cochrane Library, PubMed Publisher and Google Scholar until May 10, 2016. The primary outcome, reduction in CLABSIs per 1000 catheter-days, expressed as an incidence rate ratio (IRR), was analyzed with a random effects meta-analysis. Studies were included if 1) conducted in a hospital setting, 2) used antiseptic barrier caps on hubs of central lines with access to the bloodstream and 3) reported the number of CLABSIs per 1000 catheter-days when using the barrier cap and when using manual disinfection. Results A total of 1537 articles were identified as potentially relevant and after exclusion of duplicates, 953 articles were screened based on title and abstract; 18 articles were read full text. Eventually, nine studies were included in the systematic review, and seven of these nine in the random effects meta-analysis. The pooled IRR showed that use of the antiseptic barrier cap was effective in reducing CLABSIs (IRR = 0.59, 95% CI = 0.45–0.77, P < 0.001). Conclusions Use of an antiseptic barrier cap is associated with a lower incidence CLABSIs and is an intervention worth adding to central-line maintenance bundles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-40
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • Systematic review
  • Antiseptic barrier cap
  • Central line-associated bloodstream infections
  • Infection control
  • Meta-analysis


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