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To determine the risk factors for acquisition of nosocomial primary bloodstream infections (BSIs), including the effect of nursing-staff levels, in surgical intensive care unit (SICU) patients.
A nested case-control study.
A 20-bed SICU in a 1,000-bed inner-city public hospital.
28 patients with BSI (case-patients) were compared to 99 randomly selected patients (controls) hospitalized ≥3 days in the same unit.
Case- and control-patients were similar in age, severity of illness, and type of central venous catheter (CVC) used. Case-patients were significantly more likely than controls to be hospitalized during a 5-month period that had lower regular-nurse-to-patient and higher pool-nurse-to-patient ratios than during an 8-month reference period; to be in the SICU for a longer period of time; to be mechanically ventilated longer; to receive more antimicrobials and total parenteral nutrition; to have more CVC days; or to die. Case-patients had significantly lower regular-nurse-to-patient and higher pool-nurse-to-patient ratios for the 3 days before BSI than controls. In multivariate analyses, admission during a period of higher pool-nurse-to-patient ratio (odds ratio [OR]=3.8), total parenteral nutrition (OR=1.3), and CVC days (OR=1.1) remained independent BSI risk factors.
Our data suggest that, in addition to other factors, nurse staffing composition (ie, pool-nurse-to-patient ratio) may be related to primary BSI risk. Patterns in intensive care unit nurse staffing should be monitored to assess their impact on nosocomial infection rates. This may be particularly important in an era of cost containment and healthcare reform.
To investigate an outbreak of aspergillosis in a leukemia and bone marrow transplant (BMT) unit and to improve environmental assessment strategies to detect Aspergillus.
Epidemiological investigation and detailed environmental assessment.
A tertiary-care university hospital with a 37-bed leukemia and BMT unit.
Leukemic or BMT patients with invasive aspergillosis identified through prospective surveillance and confirmed by chart review.
We verified the diagnosis of invasive fungal infection by reviewing medical charts of at-risk patients, performing a case-control study to determine risk factors for infection, instituting wet mopping to clean all floors, providing N95 masks to protect patients outside high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA)-filtered areas, altering traffic patterns into the unit, and performing molecular typing of selected Aspergillus flavus isolates. To assess the environment, we verified pressure relationships between the rooms and hallway and between buildings, and we compared the ability of large-volume (1,200 L) and small-volume (160 L) air samplers to detect Aspergillus spores.
Of 29 potential invasive aspergillosis cases, 21 were confirmed by medical chart review. Risk factors for developing invasive aspergillosis included the length of time since malignancy was diagnosed (odds ratio [OR], 1.0; P=.05) and hospitalization in a patient room located near a stairwell door (OR, 3.7; P=.05). Two of five A flavus patient isolates were identical to one of the environmental isolates. The pressure in most of the rooms was higher than in the corridors, but the pressure in the oncology unit was negative with respect to the physically adjacent hospital; consequently, the unit acted essentially as a vacuum that siphoned non-HEPA-filtered air from the main hospital. Of the 78 samples obtained with a small-volume air sampler, none grew an Aspergillus species, whereas 10 of 40 cultures obtained with a large-volume air sampler did.
During active construction, Aspergillus spores may have entered the oncology unit from the physically adjacent hospital because the air pressure differed. Guidelines that establish the minimum acceptable pressures and specify which pressure relationships to test in healthcare settings are needed. Our data show that large-volume air samples are superior to small-volume samples to assess for Aspergillus in the healthcare environment.
To compare the sensitivity and specificity of two retrospective active surveillance methods based on review of the medical record and review of the discharge form in identifying nosocomial infection, taking the prospective surveillance method as the reference standard.
Blind comparison of three active nosocomial infection surveillance methods.
Department of General Surgery of a tertiary-care hospital with a referral population of 266,000 people.
All operated patients admitted to the Department of Surgery for more than 24 hours and discharged from January 1, 1994, to December 31, 1994, were included. Prospective surveillance consisted of daily review of the patient's record during hospitalization. Retrospective surveillance consisted of review of the medical record and the discharge form. Sensitivity and specificity of both retrospective methods were calculated.
Of the 1,514 patients included in the study, 1,476 (97.5%) were reviewed by means of the retrospective surveillance system. A total of 20, 8, and 4 hours per week was needed for the active prospective system, review of the medical record, and review of the hospital discharge form, respectively. The documented cumulative incidence of nosocomial infection was 21.8% for the prospective system, 19.6% for review of the medical record, and 12.6% for review of the discharge form. The overall sensitivity of review of the medical record was 88% and of the discharge form 56%, with a specificity of 99%. For review of the medical record, the highest sensitivity was 93%, for urinary tract infections; for review of the discharge form, the highest was 57%, for surgical-wound infection.
The retrospective method of review of the medical record was the most efficient active surveillance strategy in detecting nosocomial infection in surgical patients
To evaluate implementation of healthcare worker exposure control measures for tuberculosis (TB)-patient isolation, as specified by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and the hospital's TB-control policy.
Prospective multihospital study comparing CDC guidelines and hospital policy for TB-patient isolation to once-weekly observations of TB-patient isolation practices over 14 consecutive weeks at each hospital.
Three urban hospitals (two county, one private community) in counties in California with a high incidence rate of TB.
Work practices for TB-patient isolation were observed and ventilation performance of isolation rooms was assessed while patient rooms were in use for TB isolation.
Of 170 TB-patient rooms observed, 119 (70%) involved a patient in a designated TB isolation room, the room was under negative pressure, the door was closed, and a “respiratory precautions” sign was on the door; 32 patient-room units (19%) were not under negative pressure or not designated as negative-pressure rooms. Of 151 patient-room units mechanically capable of negative pressure at a prior point in time, 16 (11%) were not under negative pressure at the time of use. Of 67 patient-room units equipped with continuous monitoring devices, 8 (12%) involved devices that did not accurately reflect the direction of airflow. Of the 62 healthcare workers observed using a respirator for TB, 40 (65%) did not don the respirator properly.
Implementing CDC guidelines for TB-patient isolation was feasible but imperfect in the three hospitals. Day-to-day work practices deviated from hospital policy. Prospectively quantifying the implementation of a hospital TB isolation policy while the room is in use may lead to improved estimates of risk and may help to identify and thereby prevent avoidable healthcare worker exposures to Mycobacterium tuberculosis aerosol. Auditing practices and verifying equipment performance is likely to identify unexpected problems in implementation of the TB control program.
To assess the efficacy of both natural products (vinegar, baking soda) and common commercial disinfectants (Vesphene Ilse, TBQ, Clorox, Lysol Disinfectant Spray, Lysol Antibacterial Kitchen Cleaner, Mr. Clean Ultra, ethanol) designed for home or institutional use against potential human pathogens, including selected antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
A quantitative suspension test was used to assess the efficacy of selected disinfectants following exposure times of 30 seconds and 5 minutes. Activity was assessed against Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella choleraesuis, Escherichia coli 0157:H7, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Selected disinfectants were also tested against poliovirus, vancomycin-susceptible and -resistant Enterococcus species, and methicillin-susceptible and -resistant S aureus.
The following compounds demonstrated excellent antimicrobial activity (>5.6-8.2 log10 reduction) at both exposure times: TBQ, Vesphene, Clorox, ethanol, and Lysol Antibacterial Kitchen Cleaner. Mr. Clean eliminated 4 to >6 logs10 and Lysol Disinfectant ~4 logs10 of pathogenic microorganisms at both exposure times. Vinegar eliminated <3 logs10 of S aureus and E coli, and baking soda <3 logs10 of all test pathogens. All tested chemical disinfectants completely inactivated both antibiotic-resistant and -susceptible bacteria at both exposure times. Only two disinfectants, Clorox and Lysol, demonstrated excellent activity (>3 log10 reduction) against poliovirus.
A variety of commercial household disinfectants were highly effective against potential bacterial pathogens. The natural products were less effective than commercial household disinfectants. Only Clorox and Lysol disinfectant were effective against poliovirus
The results of performing two-step tuberculin skin testing of healthcare workers at a hospital in eastern North Carolina in 1997 and 1998 were reviewed. Of 1,248 new employees, approximately 500 required two-step testing, which identified only 5 new employees who might have been falsely labeled as converters during the subsequent year's surveillance testing.
We compared, in three intensive care units, colonization of hubs with hub protection boxes or hubs with needleless closed connectors; 137 central venous catheters and 451 hubs were randomized in two groups with similar characteristics. Catheter and hub colonization were not different between the two groups. Among 30 colonized catheters, the same isolate was found in only two hubs; hub contamination rarely is responsible for catheter colonization in short-term catheters. Further studies are required to evaluate the benefit of protected hubs compared with unprotected hubs.
The project goal was to decrease excessive vancomycin use. Interventions included an educational chart note the first day of therapy, followed by pharmacists discussing the need for continued therapy with patients' physicians. Empirical vancomycin use improved from 20% to 90% compliance with guidelines within 6 months of the intervention
To strengthen guidelines for vancomycin use, practical guidelines were developed. A prospective survey was conducted of all patients receiving vancomycin during two 1-month periods, 1 year apart, during which significant improvements were noted. Practical guidelines may contribute to appropriateness of vancomycin use, serve as educational tools, and facilitate improved surveillance.