TUESDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Intensive-care unit
patients with hospital-acquired infections have a significantly
increased risk of dying, but antibiotic resistance increases their
likelihood of death only a small amount, a new study finds.
Looking at data from 2005 to 2008, researchers analyzed
hospital-acquired bloodstream infections and pneumonia among nearly
120,000 patients in 537 ICUs in 10 European countries.
The infections were caused by the four most common
microorganisms in ICUs:
Acinetobacter baumannii and
Because of their poor health, ICU patients are highly
susceptible to infection.
Bloodstream infections nearly tripled the risk of death, while
pneumonia doubled the risk. The study also found that having
pneumonia increased patients' length of stay in ICUs.
The presence of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms increased
the risk of death by a further 20 percent, which the researchers
described as only a small additional effect. Antibiotic resistance
did not significantly increase the length of stays in the ICU.
The study is published online Dec. 1 in
The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
"Common patterns of antibiotic resistance made only a small contribution to the overall effect of these infections. Prevention of health-care-related infections needs to be reasserted and emphasized as an absolute priority," the researchers said in a news release from the journal.
However, in an accompanying editorial, Jean-Louis Vincent from
Erasme University Hospital in Brussels, Belgium, said the findings
must not be seen to minimize the problem of antibiotic
"Microbial resistance does matter, and the results of this study should not discourage attempts to control multidrug-resistant bacteria [MRB]," Vincent said in the news release.
The U.S. National Patient Safety Foundation outlines ways to
infections in hospital patients.