Central Line-Associated Primary Bloodstream Infection


When a patient requires long-term access to medication or fluids through an IV, a central line is put in place. A central line-associated primary bloodstream infection (CLI) can occur when bacteria and/or fungi enter the blood stream, causing a patient to become sick. The bacteria can come from a variety of places such as skin wounds or the environment, though most often come from the patient’s skin.


North York General Hospital regularly monitors and reviews infection rates and uses this information to execute best practice protective measures and continually improve patient care and safety. All hospitals with Intensive care units are required to report into the Critical Care Information System — a centralized data collection system where hospitals report a variety of critical care information — must publicly report the CLI indicator data. This includes North York General. Hospitals post their quarterly CLI rate and case count for those infections acquired in their facility, using the following formula:

total # of ICU-related bloodstream infections after 48 hours of central line placement X 1000
total # of central line days for ICU patients 18 years and older

What we are doing to improve patient safety

Patient safety remains the most important priority for North York General and this involves ensuring that patients are not at risk for contracting health care-associated infections. We have a number of practices in place to help prevent and control infections. North York General is improving patient safety in a number of ways including:

  • Adopting and executing Canadian Patient Safety Institute practices to prevent CLI infections and their adverse effects
  • Developing a comprehensive system for screening and surveillance of high-risk patients for infectious syndromes (e.g. diarrhea, meningitis, etc.) and antibiotic-resistant organisms (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, vancomycin-resistant enterococci or VRE, C. difficile, etc.)
  • Enhancing our Infection Prevention and Control Program
  • Actively implementing an aggressive hand washing campaign across the entire hospital to dramatically increase hand washing compliance rates
  • Engaging North York General staff in developing plans to respond to pandemic influenza

Frequently asked questions