International Urology and Nephrology

, Volume 50, Issue 9, pp 1643–1652 | Cite as

Ethanol lock is effective on reducing the incidence of tunneled catheter-related bloodstream infections in hemodialysis patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Tingting Zhao
  • Hong Liu
  • Jibin HanEmail author
Nephrology - Review



The purpose of this meta-analysis is to evaluate the effect of ethanol lock on the incidence of catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI) in patients with central venous catheters.


RCTs comparing ethanol lock with another solution lock for prevention of CRBSI were obtained by searching databases of PubMed, Embase, Web of Science and Cochrane Central Register of clinical trials for eligible randomized controlled trials (inception to December 2017). Two researchers separately selected the RCTs and assessed their quality. Data on patient characteristics and ethanol protocols were collected. The primary outcome was the incidence of CRBSI, and the secondary outcomes were catheter colonization, exit infection and thrombosis.


A total of 2575 patients with 3375 catheters from 7 eligible RCTs were included. Overall, ethanol lock significantly decreased the risk of CRBSI, with RR 0.54 (95% CI 0.38–0.78; I2 = 0%; p = 0.001); no obvious heterogeneity was observed in the fixed-effects model (I2 = 0%). Of note, subgroup analysis demonstrated that ethanol lock conferred significant benefit in studies with tunneled catheters (RR 0.46; 95% CI 0.30–0.72) but not in studies with untunneled catheters. Only two studies provided data regarding catheter colonization, and no significant difference was found (RR, 1.09; 95% CI, 0.87–1.38; I2 = 41%; p = 0.45). Moreover, pooled data did not show significant differences between ethanol and control groups with regard to the incidence of thrombosis (RR 1.05; 95% CI 0.91–1.22; I2 = 0%; p = 0.48).


Our meta-analysis suggests that ethanol lock is effective on reducing the incidence of CRBSI in hemodialysis patients with tunneled central venous catheters.


Ethanol lock Catheter-related bloodstream infection Prevention Meta-analysis 



Randomized controlled trials


Central venous catheters


Catheter-related bloodstream infection


Risk ratio


Confidence interval


Weighted mean difference


Absolute risk reduction

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOC 28 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (DOC 32 kb)
11255_2018_1855_MOESM3_ESM.doc (222 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOC 222 kb)
11255_2018_1855_MOESM4_ESM.doc (32 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (DOC 32 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Critical Care MedicineThe First Hospital of Shanxi Medical UniversityTaiyuanPeople’s Republic of China

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