TUESDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- There has been a dramatic
decline in bloodstream infections in intensive care unit patients
with central lines, but the number of these infections in general
remains too high, a new U.S. government report shows.
From 2001 to 2009, the number of bloodstream infections in
intensive care unit (ICU) patients with central lines fell by 58
percent, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said
Tuesday. That decrease represented up to 27,000 lives saved and
$1.8 billion in excess health care costs, according to the CDC
Vital Signs report.
However, the report also showed that an estimated 60,000
bloodstream infections in patients with central lines occurred in
non-ICU settings, including kidney dialysis clinics (about 37,000
in 2008) and hospital wards (about 23,000 in 2009).
A bloodstream infection can occur when germs enter the blood
through a central line, which is a tube placed in a large vein of a
patient's neck or chest. The cause of these infections is often a
lack of proper procedures in the placement or maintenance of the
Bloodstream infections in patients with central lines are fatal
in as many as 25 percent of cases, the report noted.
The large decrease in bloodstream infections in ICU patients
with central lines shows that preventing these infections is
possible and that the same preventive practices must be adopted in
other health care settings.
"Preventing bloodstream infections is not only possible, it should be expected. Meticulous insertion and care of the central line by all members of the clinical care team, including doctors, nurses and others at the bedside is essential. The next step is to apply what we've learned from this to other health care settings and other health care-associated conditions, so that all patients are protected," CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said in an agency news release.
The American Thoracic Society has more about