Central-line infections drop, but teaching hospitals remain area of concern

Despite "substantial progress" in reducing central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) rates in critical care patients over the past 20 years, there's room for improvement at medium and large teaching hospitals, according to a study in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

After examining patient-day data for nearly all U.S. hospitals, researchers concluded about 462,000 to 636,000 critical care CLABSIs occurred between 1990 and 2010.

Moreover, the researchers found that 70 percent of CLABSIs in critical care patients occurred at medium and large teaching hospitals, suggesting those academic facilities may need targeted approaches to hold down infection rates.

Apart from some teaching hospitals, infection-prevention efforts have proven successful, reducing the number of CLABSIs by 104,000 to 198,000 during the 20-year period.

A separate study released in February found a 41 percent drop in CLABSIs between 2008 and 2011.

A state-based safety program that involves checklists and better communication is among measures that can help hospitals prevent CLABSIs, research shows. Mandating the use of gloves also helped one tertiary hospital significantly decrease the risk for CLABSIs in pediatric units, concluded a study published online today in Pediatrics.

With mandatory gloving, the risk of any healthcare-acquired infection dropped 25 percent compared with nongloving periods, according to the retrospective study that looked at all pediatric patients of a tertiary care center between 2002 and 2010.

For more:
- here's the study abstract
- read the MedPage Medical News article
- check out the Pediatrics abstract