• The technology described in this briefing is Biopatch. It is a hydrophilic foam dressing impregnated with chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG), and is used for covering central venous or arterial catheter sites.

  • The innovative aspects are that it releases CHG to reduce the risk of catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSIs), while the absorbent foam draws discharge away from the catheter site.

  • The intendedplace in therapy would be as an addition to standard sterile semipermeable transparent dressings to reduce the risk of a CRBSI in people with venous or arterial catheters.

  • The key points from the evidence summarised in this briefing are from 6 non-UK-based randomised controlled trials in a total of 3,674 adults and children in secondary care settings. Results are mixed with some evidence showing reductions in rates of bacterial colonisation and the number of CRBSIs compared with standard dressings in patients with venous or arterial catheters, and some showing no difference between Biopatch and standard care.

  • Key uncertainties around the evidence and technology are whether it is as effective at reducing the number of CRBSIs as it is at reducing the rate of bacterial colonisation at the catheter insertion site; studies were generally underpowered to show a difference in the CRBSI rate. There is also uncertainty over whether the randomised trial evidence is generalisable to the NHS.

  • The cost of Biopatch is £4.44 per patch (exclusive of VAT), compared with £1.34 for a standard non-antimicrobial transparent film catheter dressing. The resource impact would be an additional cost compared with standard care, but this could be offset if Biopatch were shown to reduce the rate of CRBSIs.