Surveillance for central line associated bloodstream infection

A central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) is a serious infection that usually requires significant treatment and a prolonged length of stay in hospital.

Surveillance Implementation Guide

A CLABSI can be prevented through correct insertion and line maintenance techniques. Most states and territories have established either voluntary or mandatory reporting requirements for CLABSI.

The Commission has also developed a surveillance implementation guide for CLABSI to support Australian hospitals undertaking surveillance and reporting of CLABSI. This guide is currently under review and will be available during 2019.

Case Definition

A Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infection (CLABSI) is a laboratory-confirmed bloodstream infection in a patient where the central line was in place for > 2 calendar days (48 hours)* on the date of the event, with day of device placement being Day 1.


The central line was in place on the date of event or the day before. If the central line was in place for > 2 calendar days (48 hours) and then removed, the CLABSI criteria must be fully met on the day of discontinuation or the next day.

The CLABSI must meet one of the following criteria:

Criterion 1

Patient has a recognised pathogen cultured from one or more blood cultures


Organism cultured from blood is not related to an infection at another site.

Criterion 2

Patient has at least one of the following signs or symptoms: fever (> 38°C), chills, or hypotension.


Patient < 1 year of age has at least one of the following signs or symptoms: fever (> 38°C core), hypothermia (< 36°C core), apnoea or bradycardia.


Organism cultured from blood is not related to an infection at another site.


The same (matching) potential contaminant organism^ is cultured from two or more blood cultures drawn on separate occasions.

Criterion elements must occur within a timeframe that does not exceed a gap of 1 calendar day (24 hours)* between any two elements e.g. positive blood cultures and fever.

The same (matching) potential contaminant organisms represent a single element. The collection date of the first positive blood culture should be used to determine the date of the event.


* The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC)/National Hospital Safety Network (NHSN) use   “calendar days” terminology i.e. >2 calendar days with device placement being Day 1; some Australian jurisdictions use “48 hours” terminology. Jurisdictions must be consistent in the terminology that is used.

^ The CDC/NHSN uses the term “common commensal”.

Examples of potential contaminant organisms include: diphtheroids [Corynebacterium spp.], Bacillus [not B. anthracis] spp., Propionibacterium spp., coagulase negative staphylococci [including Sepidermidis], viridans group streptococci, Aerococcus spp., and Micrococcus spp.