• Catheter sepsis with catheter removal is an important problem in patients with short-bowel syndrome. We determined the incidence of catheter sepsis and the catheter salvage rate in 20 pediatric patients with short-bowel syndrome. To evaluate the intestine as a source and translocation as the pathophysiologic mechanism for catheter sepsis, we identified the sepsis organisms, compared them with the fecal flora, and used mesenteric lymph node cultures to document translocation. The incidence of catheter sepsis was significantly higher in patients with short-bowel syndrome than in patients without short-bowel syndrome (7.8 vs 1.3 per 1000 catheter days). Overall catheter salvage was 42% and was highest in gram-negative sepsis (71 %). Enteric organisms were responsible for 62% of cases of catheter sepsis in patients with short-bowel syndrome vs 12% in patients without short-bowel syndrome. Anaerobes were strikingly absent in 25 of 28 stool cultures. The sepsis organism was identified in the fecal flora in 19 of 28 cases. The dominant fecal organism or yeast was the septic organism in 12 of these 19 cases and was isolated in three of four mesenteric lymph node cultures. Our findings support translocation as a mechanism in catheter sepsis in patients with short-bowel syndrome.
(Arch Surg. 1992;127:21-25)