Healthcare News & Insights

Study: Hospital mortality rates up in ICU patients with HAI

A recent analysis of an American hospital database found that in-hospital mortality in ICU patients with hospital-acquired infections (HAI) is four times higher (18.5% vs. 4.5%) than those without. But that’s not all it found.

Length of stay for these patients in the ICU doubled from a mean of 8.1 days to 15.8 days.

Two factors that increased patients’ risk for an HAI: coming from the emergency department and being over 75 years old.

So which infections were more likely to drive up the mortality rate?

  • Bloodstream infection (24.7%)
  • Hospital-acquired pneumonia (16.7%), and
  • Surgical-site infection (10.9%).

The Premier Perspective hospital database, which was analyzed for the study, covered 20% of U.S. hospital discharges – 460,000 ICU patients. The study looked at patients over 18 with an ICU stay of at least 48 hours in 2007. Note: The researchers also looked at data from 2008 and 2009 and got similar results.

Cost analysis

What will really interest hospital executives is what the study found when it did a cost analysis based on direct variable costs and fixed overhead costs:

The infections cost an extra $16,000 per ICU stay, noted Florence Joly, PharmD,  from global evidence and value development at Sanofi in Paris, France, and lead researcher of the study. For a patient without an HAI, the cost was $21,500. For a patient with an HAI, the cost was $37,500.

Kenneth Christopher, MD, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, offered a word of caution concerning the study results. He noted that 25.8% of ICU patients who developed an HAI in the study were more likely to have a predisposition to infection-related supportive measures, such as endotracheal tube placement and intravascular lines.

He also pointed to a study the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in 2011 on ICUs in the United States, which showed that from 2001 to 2009, central-line-associated bloodstream infection dropped 58%. The CDC report also found that the initiation of a bundle protocol was an effective method to reduce ventilator-acquired pneumonia.

So while many U.S. hospitals already have infection control practices implemented for critically ill patients and infection rates are down, it still poses a major threat to patients and a huge financial burden to hospitals.

Do you feel U.S. facilities’ practices to prevent HAI in the ICU are enough or can even more be done? Share your thoughts below.


Subscribe Today

Get the latest and greatest healthcare news and insights delivered to your inbox.