Hospital-acquired infections quadruple ICU deaths

An analysis of a U.S. hospital database found that in-hospital mortality is four times higher in patients with a hospital-acquired infection (HAI) than in those without, reported Medscape Medical News. Moreover, the length of stay in the ICU doubled for infected patients, up from a mean of 8.1 days to 15.8 days.

In particular, hospital-acquired pneumonia was associated with 16.9 percent of ICU stays, bloodstream infection with 14.5 percent, ventilator-acquired pneumonia with 3.7 percent and surgical-site infection with 1.5 percent, according to the study abstract.

Given that devices--specifically central catheters or mechanical ventilation devices--roughly tripled the risk of acquiring a hospital infection, reducing exposure to such devices or utilizing devices less susceptible to colonization could eliminate HAIs, Medscape noted.

The study also examined the economic impact of hospital-acquired infections and found that the infections add an extra $16,000 to each ICU stay. In fact, an infected patient costs $37,500 per ICU stay, compared to $21,500 for a patient without, Florence Joly of global evidence and value development at Sanofi in Paris told Medscape.

The findings reinforce recent research that found that patient infection rates, although down, still pose a major problem for hospitals. According to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, infected patients stayed in the hospital three times longer than patients without, were far more likely to be readmitted with 30 days and were more than five times likely to die than patients without infections, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the Medscape article (subscription required)
- here's the study abstract
- check the Pennsylvania report (.pdf)