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Validation of statewide surveillance system data on central line-associated bloodstream infection in intensive care units in Australia.

McBryde ES, Brett J, Russo PL, Worth LJ, Bull AL, Richards MJ

  • Journal Infection control and hospital epidemiology

  • Published 05 Jan 2010

  • Volume 30

  • ISSUE 11

  • Pagination 1045-9

  • DOI 10.1086/606168


To measure the interobserver agreement, sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of data submitted to a statewide surveillance system for identifying central line-associated bloodstream infection (BSI).

Retrospective review of hospital medical records comparing reported data with gold standard according to definitions of central line-associated BSI.

Six Victorian public hospitals with more than 100 beds.

Reporting of surveillance outcomes was undertaken by infection control practitioners at the hospital sites. Retrospective evaluation of the surveillance process was carried out by independent infection control practitioners from the Victorian Hospital Acquired Infection Surveillance System (VICNISS). A sample of records of patients reported to have a central line-associated BSI were assessed to determine whether they met the definition of central line-associated BSI. A sample of records of patients with bacteremia in the intensive care unit during the assessment period who were not reported as having central line-associated BSI were also assessed to see whether they met the definition of central line-associated BSI.

Records of 108 patients were reviewed; the agreement between surveillance reports and the VICNISS assessment was 67.6% (k = 0.31). Of the 46 reported central line-associated BSIs, 27 were confirmed to be central line-associated BSIs, for a positive predictive value of 59% (95% confidence interval [CI], 43%-73%). Of the 62 cases of bacteremia reviewed that were not reported as central line-associated BSIs, 45 were not associated with a central line, for a negative predictive value of 73% (95% CI, 60%-83%). Estimated sensitivity was 35%, and specificity was 87%. The positive likelihood ratio was 3.0, and the negative likelihood ratio was 0.72.

The agreement between the reporting of central line-associated BSI and the gold standard application of definitions was unacceptably low. False-negative results were problematic; more than half of central line-associated BSIs may be missed in Victorian public hospitals.