Hospital urinary tract infections common

Dec. 9, 2011 at 11:17 PM
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ANN ARBOR, Mich., Dec. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. hospitals attempt to prevent hospital-acquired infections, but a survey shows few are aggressively combating catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

The survey by the University of Michigan Health System and the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare Center indicates about 90 percent of U.S. hospitals surveyed increased use of methods to prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia from 2005 to 2009.

However, the study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, found prevention practices for urinary tract infections -- the most common hospital-acquired infections -- were regularly used by only a minority of hospitals.

"Despite being the most common healthcare-associated infection in the country, hospitals appear not to be using as many practices for prevention when compared with bloodstream infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia," senior author Dr. Sanjay Saint, director of the VA/UM Patient Safety Enhancement Program, and University of Michigan professor of internal medicine, said in a statement.

About 5 percent to 10 percent of hospitalized patients contract a hospital-acquired infection, resulting in about $45 billion a year in preventable healthcare costs, but in 2008, Medicare stopped paying non-federal hospitals for the additional costs of treating infections which are considered preventable with the right care, Saint said.

The study was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

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