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To test the hypothesis that use of disposable thermometers would result in lower rates of nosocomial Clostridium difficile diarrhea and of total nosocomial infections, compared with electronic thermometers.
Prospective randomized crossover trial.
A 700-bed university hospital providing primary and tertiary care.
All patients admitted to a group of 20 inpatient nursing units.
20 nursing units were randomized into two groups. One group randomly was assigned exclusive use of single-use disposable thermometers for patient temperature measurement, and the other group was assigned exclusive use of electronic thermometers. After 6 months, the assignments were reversed.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
Rates of C difficile infections, total nosocomial diarrheal episodes, and total nosocomial infections were prospectively followed in each study unit over 11 months.
26,350 patients were admitted to the study units and hospitalized for 120,529 patient days. There were 947 nosocomial infections (7.86 per 1,000 patient days). Nosocomial C difficile- associated diarrhea defined by positivity to both toxin B (titer ≥1:10) and toxin A was detected in 32 patients (3.4% of all nosocomial infections). A significantly lower rate of nosocomial C difficile-associated diarrhea was observed with disposable thermometer use (0.16 per 1,000 patient days) compared with electronic thermometer use (0.37 per 1,000 patient days, relative risk [RR]=0.44; 95% confidence interval [CI95], 0.21-0.93, P=.026). There was no difference in overall rates of nosocomial infection between the disposable and electronic groups (8.03 and 7.68 infections per 1,000 patient days, respectively; RR, 1.04; CI95, 0.92-1.19; P=.52) or in the overall rate of nosocomial diarrhea (3.34 and 3.40 per 1,000 patient days, respectively; RR, .98; CI95, 0.81-1.19; P=.87).
The incidence of nosocomial C difficile diarrhea was reduced significantly by using single-use, disposable thermometers as compared with electronic thermometers, but there was no effect on either the overall rate of nosocomial diarrhea or the rate of total nosocomial infections.
To devise a system for surveying the frequency of nosocomial infections in a tertiary care hospital in a developing country.
Prospective selective surveillance by nurses of the charts of patients at high risk for nosocomial infections, as identified by a form completed by resident physicians. The sensitivity, specificity, and predictive value of this method of selective surveillance were compared with those for total prospective chart review by two infectious disease specialists.
A university hospital in northeastern Brazil.
All patients hospitalized for more than 72 hours with an identified risk factor for nosocomial infection.
The ratio of nosocomial infections to 100 discharges was 13.4 and the incidence density was 11.2/1,000 patient days. The surveillance method demonstrated a sensitivity of 74% and a specificity of 99.7%. Positive predictive value was 93%, negative predictive value was 99%, and overall accuracy was 98%.
This method of selective surveillance for nosocomial infections based on risk factors identified by physicians demonstrated excellent predictive value and overall accuracy and may be of use to other hospitals that lack a nursing care plan book such as the Kardex. The relative frequency of nosocomial infections significantly exceeded the rates reported from hospitals in developed countries.
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