Catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI) is one of the most common and potentially fatal complications in patients receiving home parenteral nutrition (HPN). In order to prevent permanent venous access loss, catheter locking with an antimicrobial solution has received significant interest and is often a favored approach as part of the treatment of CRBSI, but mainly for its prevention. Several agents have been used for treating and preventing CRBSI, for instance antibiotics, antiseptics (ethanol, taurolidine) and, historically, anticoagulants such as heparin. Nonetheless, current guidelines do not provide clear guidance on the use of catheter locks. Therefore, this review aims to provide a better understanding of the current use of antimicrobial locking in patients on HPN as well as reviewing the available data on novel compounds. Despite the fact that our current knowledge on catheter locking is still hampered by several gaps, taurolidine and ethanol solutions seem promising for prevention and potentially, but not proven, treatment of CRBSI. Additional studies are warranted to further characterize the efficacy and safety of these agents.
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