A quality improvement intervention to reduce indwelling tunneled pleural catheter infection rates

Christopher R. Gilbert, Hans J. Lee, Jason A. Akulian, Margaret Hayes, Ricardo Ortiz, David Hashemi, Richard E. Thompson, Sixto Arias, David J. Feller-Kopman, Lonny B. Yarmus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Rationale: The indwelling tunneled pleural catheter has altered the management of patients with dyspnea related to malignant pleural effusions. However, indwelling tunneled pleural catheter placement does not remain free from risk. The most commonly reported risk is infection. Objectives: The aim of this paper is to describe our continuous quality improvement program for infection rate recognition, the process changes implemented for improvement, and subsequent outcomes. Methods: All patients undergoing indwelling tunneled pleural catheter placement at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions between May 2009 and April 2014 were identified. The primary outcome was the incidence of infection within the preintervention and intervention cohorts. Intervention was identified as use of preoperative antibiotics, full sterile draping, and limiting placement to a single defined location. Measurements and Main Results: A total of 225 indwelling tunneled pleural catheter placements were performed in 201 patients during the study period, and the overall infection rate was 5.8%. During the preintervention period, 134 placements were performed, and 91 placements occurred during the intervention period. A preintervention infection rate was identified as 8.2%, with a significant decrease to 2.2% (P = 0.049)within the intervention cohort. Conclusions: The use of a continuous quality improvement program to review indwelling tunneled pleural catheter practices can result in the identification of infectious complications and lead to implementation of measures to improve patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)847-853
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Indwelling tunneled pleural catheter
  • Pleural infection
  • Systems improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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