Lucy S. Tompkins, MD, PhD, reported zero blood culture contamination events (0.0% contamination rate) and zero false-positive central line bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) out of 4,462 blood cultures drawn with the Steripath Gen2 Initial Specimen Diversion Device (ISDD) during a 4-month study, versus 29 contaminated sets in 922 blood cultures using traditional methods (3.15% contamination rate). “Blood culture contamination is a serious patient safety issue and is associated with several harmful outcomes,” said Dr. Tompkins. “Even though Stanford Hospital has a superb phlebotomy team, our team could not always reduce the contamination rate to below 3%, the current industry ‘standard’. When using the Steripath Gen2 ISDD on in-patients and ED patients, many of whom are ‘hard sticks’, our team was able to reduce the contamination rate to zero over the course of a 4-month clinical trial. Our results confirm those of Dr. Mark Rupp whose seminal Steripath ISDD study clearly demonstrated that the ISDD is the most effective way to reduce, and even eliminate, blood culture contamination. Along with many other hospital epidemiologists, I did not initially believe we could reduce CLABSIs to zero. With many changes in practice and policies, it is quite clear that the goal of zero CLABSIs can be achieved. As a result of our experience with the Steripath Gen2, we join others in promoting the goal to establish a new standard of zero for blood culture contamination.”
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