ARCTIC Results

02.11.2023

Antiseptic Randomised Controlled Trial for Insertion of Catheters (ARCTIC) feasibility study results

What is a feasibility trial?

A feasibility trial looks at whether a full research project into an area would work and what the challenges may be. This helps with planning the full research project as it would include provisions to avoid the challenges highlighted.

What was the ARCTIC trial looking at?

The ARCTIC trial investigated whether a large trial, to see what the best way to clean a premature baby’s skin before inserting a percutaneous central venous catheter (PCVC), was possible to do. Babies born before 34 weeks of pregnancy were eligible for this trial.

What is a percutaneous central venous catheter?

A PCVC is a long, thin tube inserted through a vein in your arm or chest and passed through to larger veins in your body.

What did the trial use to clean the skin?

The ARCTIC trial tested two per cent chlorhexidine gluconate-aqueous against two per cent chlorhexidine gluconate-70 per cent isopropyl alcohol. Chlorhexidine gluconate is a disinfectant which means it reduces the number of germs (bacteria) on the skin. It was mixed with either water (aqueous) or alcohol (70 per cent isopropyl alcohol).

What did the ARCTIC trial show?

Medway Maritime Hospital was one of two sites taking part in the trial, which randomly chose 116 babies to be tested. The trial looked at how many germs had grown and multiplied on the PCVC when removed from the baby. Evidence shows this only happened in a few cases.

As a result, this shows a larger trial into this area would be challenging as a large number of babies would need to be recruited to have enough infected PCVC to prove which cleaning process was best.

However, the trial did support earlier data suggesting both cleaning methods are potentially safe for use in premature babies.

You can read the full article here.