Systematic review of the effectiveness of preventing and treating Staphylococcus aureus carriage in reducing peritoneal catheter-related infections

K. McCormack, K. Rabindranath, M. Kilonzo, L. Vale, C. Fraser, L. McIntyre, S. Thomas, H. Rothnie, N. Fluck, I. M. Gould, N. Waugh

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Objectives: To determine the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of (1) alternative strategies for the prevention of Staphylococcus aureus carriage in patients on peritoneal dialysis (PD) and (2) alternative strategies for the eradication of S. aureus carriage in patients on PD. Data sources: Major electronic databases were searched up to December 2005 (MEDLINE Extra up to 6 January 2006). Review methods: Electronic searches were undertaken to identify published and unpublished reports of randomised controlled trials and systematic reviews evaluating the effectiveness of preventing and treating S. aureus carriage on peritoneal catheterrelated infections. The quality of the included studies was assessed and data synthesised. Where data were not sufficient for formal meta-analysis, a qualitative narrative review looking for consistency between studies was performed. Results: Twenty-two relevant trials were found. These fell into several groups: the first split is between prophylactic trials, aiming to prevent carriage, and trials which aimed to eradicate carriage in those who already had it; the second split is between antiseptics and antibiotics; and the third split is between those that included patients having the catheter inserted before dialysis started and people already on dialysis. Many of the trials were small or short-term. The quality was often not good by today’s standards. The body of evidence suggested a reduction in exit-site infections, but this did not seem to lead to a significant reduction in peritonitis, although to some extent this reflected insufficient power in the studies and a low incidence of peritonitis in them. The costs of interventions to prevent or treat S. aureus carriage are relatively modest. For example, the annual cost of antibiotic treatment of S. aureus carriage per identified carrier of S. aureus was estimated at £179 (£73 screening and £106 cost of antibiotic). However, without better data on the effectiveness of the interventions, it is not clear whether such costs are offset by the cost of treating infections and averting changes from peritoneal dialysis to haemodialysis. Although treatment is not expensive, the lack of convincing evidence of clinical effectiveness made cost-effectiveness analysis unrewarding at present. However, consideration was given to the factors needed in a hypothetical model describing patient pathways from methods to prevent S. aureus carriage, its detection and treatment and the detection and treatment of the consequences of S. aureus (e.g. catheter infections and peritonitis). Had data been available, the model would have compared the costeffectiveness of alternative interventions from the perspective of the UK NHS, but as such it helped identify what future research would be needed to fill the gaps. Conclusions: The importance of peritonitis isnot in doubt. It is the main cause of people having to switch from peritoneal dialysis to haemodialysis, which then leads to reduced quality of life for patients and increased costs to the NHS. Unfortunately, the present evidence base for the prevention of peritonitis is disappointing; it suggests that the interventions reduce exit-site infections, but not peritonitis, although this may be due to trials being in too small numbers for too short periods. Trials are needed with larger numbers of patients for longer durations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-84
Number of pages84
JournalHealth Technology Assessment
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


  • exit-site infection
  • dialysis-related infections
  • randomized controlled-trial
  • stage renal-disease
  • mupirocin calcium ointment
  • tunnel infections
  • CAPD peritonitis
  • nasal carriage
  • risk-factors
  • bacterial peritonitis


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