Background. Gauze and tape or transparent polyurethane film dressings such as Tegaderm®, Opsite® or Opsite IV3000® are the most common types of dressing used to secure central venous catheters (CVCs). Currently, there are no clear guidelines as to which type of dressing is the most appropriate.
Aims. To identify whether there are any differences between gauze and tape and/or transparent polyurethane film dressings in the incidence of CVC-related infection, catheter-related sepsis, catheter security, tolerance to dressing material, dressing condition and ease of application in hospitalized patients.
Methods. The Cochrane Controlled Trials Register and Medline, Embase and CancerLit databases were searched to identify any controlled trials comparing the effects of gauze and tape and/or transparent polyurethane dressings on CVCs. Additional references were sought from published and non-published literature. Twenty-three studies were reviewed. Data were extracted independently from each paper by two members of the review team and results compared. Differences were resolved either by consensus or referral to a third person. Authors were contacted for missing information.
Results. Of the 23 studies reviewed, 15 were excluded. Of the remaining eight, data were available for meta-analysis from six studies. Of the six included studies, two compared gauze and tape with Opsite IV3000, two compared Opsite with Opsite IV3000, one compared Tegaderm with Opsite IV3000, and one compared Tegaderm with Opsite.
Conclusions. There was no evidence of any difference in the incidence of infectious complications between any of the dressing types compared in this review. Each of these comparisons was based on no more than two studies and all of these studies reported data from a small patient sample. Therefore it is unlikely that any of these comparisons would have had sufficient power to detect any differences between groups.