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To assess the impact and sustainability of a multifaceted intervention to prevent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) transmission implemented in 3 chronologically overlapping phases at 1 hospital.
Interrupted time-series analyses.
A Veterans Affairs hospital in the northeastern United States.
Patients and Participants.
Individuals admitted to acute care units from October 1, 1999, through September 30, 2008. To calculate the monthly clinical incidence of MRSA colonization or infection, the number of MRSA-positive cultures obtained from a clinical site more than 48 hours after admission among patients with no MRSA-positive clinical cultures during the previous year was divided by patient-days at risk. Secondary outcomes included clinical incidence of methicillin-sensitive S. aureus colonization or infection and incidence of MRSA bloodstream infections.
The intervention—implemented in a surgical ward beginning October 2001, in a surgical intensive care unit beginning October 2003, and in all acute care units beginning July 2005—included systems and behavior change strategies to increase adherence to infection control precautions (eg, hand hygiene and active surveillance culturing for MRSA).
Hospital-wide, the clinical incidence of MRSA colonization or infection decreased after initiation of the intervention in 2001, compared with the period before intervention (P = .002), and decreased by 61% (P < .001) in the 7-year postintervention period. In the postintervention period, the hospital-wide incidence of MRSA bloodstream infection decreased by 50% (P = .02), and the proportion of S. aureus isolates that were methicillin resistant decreased by 30% (P < .001).
Sustained decreases in hospital-wide clinical incidence of MRSA colonization or infection, incidence of MRSA bloodstream infection, and proportion of S. aureus isolates resistant to methicillin followed implementation of a multifaceted prevention program at one Veterans Affairs hospital. Findings suggest that interventions designed to prevent transmission can impact endemic antimicrobial resistance problems.
To measure the effectiveness of an industrial systems-engineering approach to a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) prevention program.
Before-after intervention study
An intensive care unit (ICU) and a surgical unit that was not an ICU in the Pittsburgh Veterans Administration hospital
Allpatientsadmittedtothe study units
We implemented an MRSA infection control program that consisted of the following 4 elements: (1) the use of standard precautions for all patient contact, with emphasis on hand hygiene; (2) the use of contact precautions for interactions with patients known to be infected or colonized with MRSA; (3) the use of active surveillance cultures to identify patients who were asymptomatically colonized with MRSA; and (4) use of an industrial systems-engineering approach, the Toyota Production System, to facilitate consistent and reliable adherence to the infection control program.
The rate of healthcare-associated MRSA infection in the surgical unit decreased from 1.56 infections per 1,000 patient-days in the 2 years before the intervention to 0.63 infections per 1,000 patient-days in the 4 years after the intervention (a 60% reduction; P = .003). The rate of healthcare-associated MRSA infection in the ICU decreased from 5.45 infections per 1,000 patient-days in the 2 years before to the intervention to 1.35 infections per 1,000 patient-days in the 3 years after the intervention (a 75% reduction; P = .001). The combined estimate for reduction in the incidence of infection after the intervention in the 2 units was 68% (95% confidence interval, 50%-79%; P < .001).
Sustained reduction in the incidence of MRSA infection is possible in a setting where this pathogen is endemic. An industrial systems-engineering approach can be adapted to facilitate consistent and reliable adherence to MRSA infection prevention practices in healthcare facilities.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus has emerged as a leading pathogen in transplant recipients and has become endemic in many institutions where transplantation is performed. The role of active surveillance programs based on the detection of colonization in the prevention of S. aureus infection in liver transplant recipients has not been defined.
A total of 47 consecutive patients who underwent liver transplantation during 1996-1999 were compared with 97 patients who received a liver transplant during 2000-2004 after implementation of an intensive intervention program that included use of surveillance cultures to detect nasal and rectal colonization, use of cohorting and contact isolation precautions, and decolonization with intranasal mupirocin therapy.
The rate of new acquisition of S. aureus colonization of nares after transplantation decreased from 45.6% (21 of 46 patients) during the preintervention period to 9.9% (9 of 91 patients) during the postintervention period (P< .001). An increased length of hospital stay (odds ratio, 1.03; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.05; P < .002) was associated with new carriage acquisition, and transplantation during the postintervention period (odds ratio, 0.21; 95% confidence interval, 0.08-0.51; P<.001) was independently protective against new carriage. The rate of infection due to S. aureus decreased from 40.4% (19 of 47 patients) during the preintervention period to 4.1% (4 of 97 patients) during the postintervention period (P<.001), and the rate of bacteremia decreased from 25.5% (12 of 47 patients) to 4.1% (4 of 97 patients), respectively (P< .001). Overall, S. aureus infections occurred more frequently among patients with new carriage than among patients who were carriers at the time of transplantation (P< .001) or patients who were noncarriers (P< .001).
Use of active surveillance cultures to detect colonization and implementation of targeted infection control interventions proved to be effective in curtailing new acquisition of S. aureus colonization and in decreasing the rate of S. aureus infection that was endemic in our population of liver transplant recipients.
The role of rectal carriage of Staphylococcus aureus as a risk factor for nosocomial S. aureus infections in critically ill patients has not been fully discerned.
Nasal and rectal swabs for S. aureus were obtained on admission and weekly thereafter until discharge or death from 204 consecutive patients admitted to the surgical intensive care unit and liver transplant unit.
Overall, 49.5% (101 of 204) of the patients never harbored S. aureus, 21.6% (44 of 204) were nasal carriers only, 3.4% (7 of 204) were rectal carriers only, and 25.5% (52 of 204) were both nasal and rectal carriers. Infections due to S. aureus developed in 15.7% (32 of 204) of the patients; these included 3% (3 of 101) of the non-carriers, 18.2% (8 of 44) of the nasal carriers only, 0% (0 of 7) of the rectal carriers only, and 40.4% (21 of 52) of the patients who were both nasal and rectal carriers (P = .001). Patients with both rectal and nasal carriage were significantly more likely to develop S. aureus infection than were those with nasal carriage only (odds ratio, 3.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.18 to 7.85; P = .025). By pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, the infecting rectal and nasal isolates were clonally identical in 82% (14 of 17) of the patients with S. aureus infections.
Rectal carriage represents an underappreciated reservoir for S. aureus in patients in the intensive care unit and liver transplant recipients. Rectal plus nasal carriage may portend a greater risk for S. aureus infections in these patients than currently realized.