Infections risk senior hospitalizations

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Older patients who get infections of any kind, including urinary, skin or respiratory tract infections, are three times more likely to be hospitalized for blood clots in the veins or lungs, according to a new Circulation study. Research released yesterday from University of Michigan Health System indicated that if the infection happened at a previous hospital or nursing home, patients were nearly seven times more likely to be admitted for a blood clot.

With venous thromboembolism as the most common predictor for hospitalization, it accounts for 330,000 hospital admissions a year, according to the research announcement. In more than half of older Americans who were hospitalized for such blood clots, the patients had an infection in the three months prior to their hospitalization.

"There is a national effort to decrease infections in hospitals, but we need to pay attention to prevention regardless of where we are. Older Americans can help out by keeping up-to-date with their immunizations and practicing good hygiene such as hand washing," lead author Mary Rogers, research assistant professor at the University of Michigan Medical School and research director of the Patient Safety Enhancement Program at the U-M Health System and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, said in the press release. Announcement