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Infections are a serious problem in ICU's

December 1, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Doctors put patients in intensive care unit with the hope they will recover from whatever serious condition they're suffering from. But a new report reveals a danger lurking in the ICU -- infections. A new study now gives doctors a snapshot of what kind and how frequent these ICU infections are.Allen Tugadi is on a ventilator and in intensive care. This also puts him at an increased risk of developing an ICU infection.

"There is an additional perhaps 10 to 15 percent mortality risk associated with acquiring an infection in the ICU," said researcher Dr. John Marshall. "Therefore, strategies to try to prevent that, to treat it effectively and early assume a substantial degree of importance."

Dr. Marshall along with fellow international co-authors of the study examined data from nearly 1300 ICU's, in 75 countries, over a 24-hour period in 2007.

The study in this report provided by the Journal of the American Medical Association found more than half of the over 14,000 patients in ICU's on that one day had infections.

"Sixty percent of the infections were pneumonias," said Dr. Marshall. "About 20 percent were infections inside the abdomen, and about 15 percent were infections of the urinary tract."

The study found patients who stayed in an ICU seven days or more had an increased risk of also becoming infected. Its information that can help patients like Allen get better not worse.

"How much of the burden of infection is an added burden on a patient who is already at risk of dying because of the under lying diseases that led them to be in the intensive care unit," said Dr. Marshall.

The study also shows that countries in Central and South America had the highest infection rates and more developed countries like Australia and New Zealand had the lowest rates.


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