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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has migrated to regions that were initially spared, and it is likely that different populations are currently at risk for illness. Herein, we present our observations of the change in characteristics and resource use of COVID-19 patients over time in a national system of community hospitals to help inform those managing surge planning, operational management, and future policy decisions.
To determine risk factors for mortality among COVID-19 patients admitted to a system of community hospitals in the United States.
Retrospective analysis of patient data collected from the routine care of COVID-19 patients.
System of >180 acute-care facilities in the United States.
All admitted patients with positive identification of COVID-19 and a documented discharge as of May 12, 2020.
Determination of demographic characteristics, vital signs at admission, patient comorbidities and recorded discharge disposition in this population to construct a logistic regression estimating the odds of mortality, particular for those patients characterized as not being critically ill at admission.
In total, 6,180 COVID-19+ patients were identified as of May 12, 2020. Most COVID-19+ patients (4,808, 77.8%) were admitted directly to a medical-surgical unit with no documented critical care or mechanical ventilation within 8 hours of admission. After adjusting for demographic characteristics, comorbidities, and vital signs at admission in this subgroup, the largest driver of the odds of mortality was patient age (OR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.06–1.08; P < .001). Decreased oxygen saturation at admission was associated with increased odds of mortality (OR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.06–1.12; P < .001) as was diabetes (OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.21–2.03; P < .001).
The identification of factors observable at admission that are associated with mortality in COVID-19 patients who are initially admitted to non-critical care units may help care providers, hospital epidemiologists, and hospital safety experts better plan for the care of these patients.
The learning hospital is distinguished by ceaseless evolution of erudition, enhancement, and implementation of clinical best practices. We describe a model for the learning hospital within the framework of a hospital infection prevention program and argue that a critical assessment of safety practices is possible without significant grant funding. We reviewed 121 peer-reviewed manuscripts published by the VCU Hospital Infection Prevention Program over 16 years. Publications included quasi-experimental studies, observational studies, surveys, interrupted time series analyses, and editorials. We summarized the articles based on their infection prevention focus, and we provide a brief summary of the findings. We also summarized the involvement of nonfaculty learners in these manuscripts as well as the contributions of grant funding. Despite the absence of significant grant funding, infection prevention programs can critically assess safety strategies under the learning hospital framework by leveraging a diverse collaboration of motivated nonfaculty learners. This model is a valuable adjunct to traditional grant-funded efforts in infection prevention science and is part of a successful horizontal infection control program.
To address 3 questions: What are the origins of bacteria causing surgical site infections (SSIs)? Is there evidence that the offending bacteria are present at the incision site when surgery begins? What are the estimates of the proportion of SSIs that can be prevented with perioperative control of the microbiome?
Review of the literature, examining recognized sources of bacteria causing surgical site infections.
Specifically, I examined the impact of improved control of the microbiome of the skin and nares on reducing SSIs. The initial effort was to examine the reduction of SSIs linked solely to preoperative skin preparation regimens and to either topical nasal antibiotics or pre- and postoperative nasal antiseptic regimens. To corroborate the concept of the importance of the microbiome, a review of studies showing the relationship of SSIs and marker organisms (eg, Propionobacterium acnes) present at the incision sites was performed. The relationships of SSIs to the microbiome of the skin and nares were summarized.
Depending on key assumptions, ∼70%–95% of all SSIs arise from the microbiome of the patients’ skin or nares. Data from the studies of marker organisms suggest that the infecting bacteria are present at the incision site at the time of surgery.
Almost all SSIs arise from the patient’s microbiome. The occurrence of SSIs can be viewed as a perioperative failure to control the microbiome.
The impact of antimicrobial scrubs on healthcare worker (HCW) bacterial burden is unknown.
To determine die effectiveness of antimicrobial scrubs on hand and apparel bacterial burden.
Prospective, crossover trial.
Setting and Participants.
Thirty HCWs randomized to study versus control scrubs in an intensive care unit.
Weekly microbiology samples were obtained from scrub abdominal area, cargo pocket, and hands. Mean log colony-forming unit (CFU) counts were calculated. Compliance with hand hygiene practices was measured. Apparel and hand mean log CFU counts were compared.
Adherence measures were 78% (910/1,173) for hand hygiene and 82% (223/273) for scrubs. Culture compliance was 67% (306/460). No differences were observed in bacterial hand burden or in HCWs with unique positive scrub cultures. No difference in vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and gram-negative rod (GNR) burden was observed. A difference in mean log mediicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) CFU count was found between study and control scrubs for leg cargo pocket (mean log CFUs, 11.84 control scrub vs 6.71 study scrub; P = .0002), abdominal area (mean log CFUs, 11.35 control scrub vs 7.54 study scrub; P = .0056), leg cargo pocket at die beginning of shift (mean log CFUs, 11.96 control scrub vs 4.87 study scrub; P = .0028), and abdominal area pocket at die end of shift (mean log CFUs, 12.14 control scrubs vs 8.22 study scrub; P = .0054).
Study scrubs were associated witfi a 4–7 mean log reduction in MRSA burden but not VRE or GNRs. A prospective trial is needed to measure die impact of antimicrobial impregnated apparel on MRSA transmission rates.
Focusing hospital resources on a single antibiotic-resistant pathogen as a sole approach to infection control is inherently flawed. We applied attributable mortality principles to a basic model of bloodstream infections to outline the argument. Screening for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus alone made sense in the 1980s, but the ongoing emergence of vancomycin-resistant enterococci and antibiotic-resistant strains of gram-negative rods and Candida species, as well as the recognition of the value of team-based infection control programs, support a population-based approach.
We evaluated 4 important outcomes associated with postoperative nosocomial infection: costs, mortality, excess length of stay, and utilization of healthcare resources.
The outcomes for patients who underwent general, cardiothoracic, and neurosurgical operations were recorded during a previous clinical trial. Multivariable analyses including significant covariates were conducted to determine whether nosocomial infection significantly affected the outcomes.
A large tertiary care medical center and an affiliated Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
A total of 3,864 surgical patients.
The overall nosocomial infection rate was 11.3%. Important covariates included age, Karnofsky score, McCabe and Jackson classification of the severity of underlying disease, National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance system risk index, and number of comorbidities. After accounting for covariates, nosocomial infection was associated with increased postoperative length of stay, increased costs, increased hospital readmission rate, and increased use of antimicrobial agents in the outpatient setting. Nosocomial infection was not associated independently with a significantly increased risk of death in this surgical population.
Postoperative nosocomial infection was associated with increased costs of care and with increased utilization of medical resources. To accurately assess the effects of nosocomial infections, one must take into account important covariates. Surgeons seeking to decrease the cost of care and resource utilization must identify ways to decrease the rate of postoperative nosocomial infection.
Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage is a risk factor for surgical-site infections (SSIs) caused by S. aureus, and eradication of carriage reduces postoperative nosocomial infections caused by it. No study has compared large groups of preoperative carriers and non-carriers to identify factors that are linked to S. aureus nasal carriage.
While conducting a clinical trial evaluating whether mupirocin prevented S. aureus SSIs, we prospectively collected data on 70 patient characteristics that might be associated with S. aureus carriage. We performed stepwise logistic regression analysis.
Of the 4,030 patients, 891 (22%) carried S. aureus. Independent risk factors for S. aureus nasal carriage were obesity (odds ratio [OR], 1.29; 95% confidence interval [CI95], 1.11-1.50), male gender (OR, 1.29; CI95,1.11-1.51), and a history of a cerebrovascular accident (OR, 1.53; CI95, 1.03-2.25) for all patients. Factors associated with nasal carriage varied somewhat by surgical specialty. In all groups, preoperative use of antimicrobial agents was independently associated with a lower risk of carrying S. aureus in the nares. Previously identified risk factors were not significantly associated with S. aureus nasal carriage in this large group of surgical patients.
Male gender, obesity, and a history of a cerebrovascular accident were identified as risk factors for S. aureus nasal carriage. It remains to be seen whether preoperative weight loss would reduce the rate of nasal carriage. In addition, the value of screening this patient population for S. aureus nasal carriage merits further investigation.
In 1991, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention devised the National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance (NNIS) System risk index to stratify populations of surgical patients by the risk of acquiring surgical-site infections (SSIs).
To determine whether the NNIS risk index adequately stratifies a population of cardiothoracic surgery patients by the risk of developing SSI.
The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, a 900-bed, midwestern, tertiary-care hospital.
201 patients with SSIs identified by prospective infection control surveillance and 398 controls matched by age, gender, type of procedure, and date of procedure. All patients underwent cardiothoracic operative procedures between November 1990 and January 1994.
The SSI rate was 7.8%. Seventy-four percent of cases and 80% of controls had a NNIS risk index score of 1; 24% of cases and 16% of controls had a score of 2 (P=.05). Patients with a NNIS risk score ≥2 were 1.8 times more likely to develop an SSI than those with a NNIS score <2 (odds ratio, 1.83; 95% confidence interval, 1.14-2.94, P=.01). The duration of the procedure was the only component of the index that stratified the population by risk of SSI.
The risk of SSI after cardiothoracic operations increases as the NNIS risk index score increases. However, this index only dichotomized the patient population on the basis of the procedure duration. More research is needed to develop a risk index that adequately stratifies the risk of SSI after cardiothoracic operations.
To describe the molecular epidemiology of Legionella pneumophila infections in the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC).
Molecular epidemiological study using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).
A large university teaching hospital.
All surviving isolates obtained from culture-proven nosocomial L pneumophila infections and all surviving isolates obtained from the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics' water supply between 1981 and 1993.
Thirty-three isolates from culture-proven nosocomial cases of L pneumophila pneumonia were available for typing. PFGE of genomic DNA from the clinical isolates identified six different strains. However, only strain C (16 cases) and strain D (13 cases) caused more than 1 case. Strain C caused clusters of nosocomial infection in 1981, 1986, and 1993 and also caused 4 sporadic cases. Strain D caused a cluster in 1987 and 1988 plus 4 sporadic cases. Of the six strains causing clinical infections, only strains C and D were identified in water samples. PFGE identified three strains in the water supply, of which strains C and D caused clinical disease and also persisted in the water supply during most of the study period.
Specific strains of L pneumophila can colonize hospital water supplies and cause nosocomial infections over long periods of time.
To define the epidemiology, risk factors, and unadjusted cost of hemorrhages related to cardiothoracic operations.
We conducted two case-control studies to evaluate the risk of hemorrhage following cardiothoracic operations. The definition of hemorrhage required one of the following: reoperation for bleeding, postoperative loss of greater than 800 mL of blood over 4 hours, or surgeon-diagnosed excessive intraoperative bleeding.
The cardiothoracic surgery service of a university hospital.
Of 511 patients undergoing cardiothoracic operations, 93 (18%) met the definition of hemorrhage. In the first case-control study, 3 (14%) of 21 cases and 0 of 42 controls died (odds ratio [OR], 15.0; 95% confidence interval [CI95], 1.18-191.55). Compared with controls, cases received significantly more packed red blood cells intraoperatively (OR, 1.18/100 mL; CI95, 1.01-1.38), and significantly more platelets (OR, 3.26/100 mL; CI95, 1.47-7.26) and fresh frozen plasma (OR, 1.73/100 mL; CI95, 1.05-.84) in the intensive-care unit. Cases were more likely than controls to receive protamine postoperatively (OR, 3.74; CI95, 1.27-11.02). Previous sternotomy, preoperative aspirin or heparin, and preoperative laboratory values did not predict bleeding. The median unadjusted hospital cost was $3,458 higher for patients who suffered hemorrhage than for controls.
To decrease costs, hetastarch (acquisition cost $45/500 mL) was substituted for albumin (acquisition cost $76/100 mL) in the pump priming solution (estimated possible cost savings, $7,000-$53,000/year). Because hemorrhage rates increased subsequently, we conducted a second case-control study that identified patient age (P=.02) and use of greater than 5 mL/kg of hetastarch (OR, 1.82) as risk factors for hemorrhage. The cost of treating hemorrhages exceeded all estimates of possible cost savings ($7,000-$53,000 per year).
Our definition of hemorrhage identified patients who required increased volumes of blood products and who had an increased crude mortality rate and a higher unadjusted cost of hospitalization. Patient age and hetastarch use were risk factors for hemorrhage. Efforts to save money by substituting less expensive products inadvertently may increase costs by increasing the probability of perioperative adverse events.
Hospital epidemiologists translate their expertise into institutional policy and gain the support of administrators through the infection control committee. Committee members have the important task of helping to disseminate information to all important hospital constituencies. The infection control team can facilitate its goals by properly preparing committee members for the meeting. A well-educated committee will approve policies efficiently. The committee periodically should reassess its accomplishments and goals. This article will explore the workings of the infection control committee and will suggest strategies that the hospital epidemiologist can use to make the committee an asset rather than a hindrance.
The modem hospital epidemiologist has broad perspectives and influence across clinical departmental lines. The opportunities to improve patient care by expanding traditional areas of focus beyond infection control are great. Useful skills include epidemiology, communication, and respect for colleagues.
The objective of this quality standard is to optimize the treatment of bacteremia in hospitalized patients by ensuring that the antibiotic given is appropriate in terms of the blood culture susceptibility of the pathogen. Although this standard may appear to be minimal in scope, it is needed because appropriate antimicrobial treatment is not given in 5% to 17% of cases. To implement the standard, physicians, pharmacists, and microbiologists will need to devise a coordinated strategy.
We considered criteria for appropriate dosing, most cost-effective selection, proper antibiotic levels in serum, least toxicity, narrowest spectrum, specific clinical indications, and optimal duration of treatment. All these criteria were rejected as the basis for the standard because they were too controversial and too difficult to be applied by a nonphysician chart reviewer. In contrast, the selection of an antibiotic to which the pathogen is sensitive is a non-controversial criterion and easy for a chart reviewer to apply.
The standard is designed to reduce the incidence of adverse outcomes of septicemia such as renal failure, prolonged hos-pitalization, and death.
Several well-designed clinical trials without randomization as well as case-controlled studies have confirmed the benefit of using an antibiotic that is appropriate in light of the susceptibility of the isolate in blood culture. Prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trials are not available.
Our premise is that the presence of bacteremia is a risk factor for serious adverse outcomes. We also believe that the administration of antibiotics must always be guided by the susceptibility report for the pathogen(s) obtained from blood cultures. This concern is more critical for pathogens from the blood than for those from most other body sites. We had evidence that susceptibility reports for pathogens from positive blood cultures were not always used properly. We used group discussion to reach a consensus among the members of the Quality Standards Subcommittee.
Benefits, Harms, and Costs:
Through the implementation of this standard, at least 5% of bacteremias could be treated more appropriately. An unknown number of deaths would likely be prevented, and mortality from bacteremia treated inappropriately would probably be reduced. The primary undesirable feature of the standard is an increased workload of pharmacists and microbiologists.
Treatment of bacteremia with an antibiotic that is appropriate in terms of the pathogen's blood-culture susceptibility is a minimal standard of care for all patients.
We consulted more than 50 experts in infectious diseases from the fields of medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, nursing, epidemiology, pharmacology, and government. In addition, the methods for its implementation were reviewed by the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists and were tested by one of the members of the Quality Standards Subcommittee.
The Quality Standards Subcommittee of the Clinical Affairs Committee of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) developed the standard. The subcommittee was composed of representatives of the IDSA (Drs. Gross and McGowan), the Society for Hospital Epidemiology of America (Dr. Wenzel), the Surgical Infection Society (Dr. Dellinger), the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (Dr. Krause), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Dr. Martone), the Obstetrics and Gynecology Infectious Diseases Society (Dr. Sweet), and the Association of Practitioners of Infection Control (Ms. Barrett). Funding was provided by the IDSA and the other cooperating organizations. This standard is endorsed by the IDSA.
The objectives of this quality standard are 1) to provide an implementation mechanism that will facilitate the reliable administration of prophylactic antimicrobial agents to patients undergoing operative procedures in which such a practice is judged to be beneficial and 2) to provide a guideline that will help local hospital committees formulate policies and set up mechanisms for their implementation. Although standards in the medical literature spell out recommendations for specific procedures, agents, schedules, and doses, other reports document that these standards frequently are not followed in practice.
We have specified the procedures in which the administration of prophylactic antimicrobial agents has been shown to be beneficial, those in which this practice is widely thought to be beneficial but in which compelling evidence is lacking, and those in which this practice is controversial. We have examined the evidence regarding the optimal timing of drug administration, the optimal dose, and the optimal duration of prophylaxis.
The intended outcome is more uniform and reliable administration of prophylactic antibiotics in those circumstances where their value has been demonstrated or their use has been judged by the local practicing medical community to be desirable. The result should be a reduction in rates of postoperative wound infection with a limitation on the quantities of antimicrobial agents used in circumstances where they are not likely to help.
Many prospective, randomized, controlled trials comparing placebo with antibiotic and comparing one antibiotic with another have been conducted. In addition, some trials have compared the efficacy of different doses or methods of administration. Other papers have reported on the apparent efficacy of administration at different times and on actual practice in specific communities. Only a small group of relevant articles found through 1993 are cited herein. When authoritative reviews are available, these-rather than an exhaustive list of original references-are cited.
We assumed that reducing rates of postoperative infection was valuable but that reducing the total amount of antimicrobial agents employed was also worthwhile. The cost of and morbidity attributable to postoperative wound infections should be weighed against the cost and potential morbidity associated with excessive use of antimicrobial agents.
Benefits, Harms, and Costs:
More reliable administration of antimicrobial agents according to recognized guidelines should prevent some postoperative wound infections while lowering the total quantity of these drugs used. No harms are anticipated. The costs involved are those of the efforts needed on a local basis to design and implement the mechanism that supports uniform and reliable administration of prophylactic antibiotics.
All patients for whom prophylactic antimicrobial agents are recommended should receive them. The agents given should be appropriate in light of published guidelines. A short duration of prophylaxis (usually < 24 hours) is recommended.
More than 50 experts in infectious disease and 10 experts in surgical infectious disease and surgical subspecialties reviewed the standard. In addition, the methods for its implementation were reviewed by the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists.
The Quality Standards Subcommittee of the Clinical Affairs Committee of the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) developed the standard. The subcommittee was composed of representatives of the IDSA (Drs. Gross and McGowan), the Society for Hospital Epidemiology of America (Dr. Wenzel), the Surgical Infection Society (Dr. Dellinger), the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society (Dr. Krause), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Dr. Martone), the Obstetrics and Gynecology Infectious Diseases Society (Dr. Sweet), and the Association of Practitioners of Infection Control (Ms. Barrett). Funding was provided by the IDSA and the other cooperating organizations. The standard is endorsed by the IDSA.
The objective of this quality standard is to prevent nosocomial transmission of measles by assuring universal measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination of all healthcare workers who lack immunity to measles. Although the primary emphasis is on healthcare workers in hospitals, those at other sites, such as clinics, nursing homes, and schools, are also included. It will be the responsibility of designated individuals at these institutions to implement the standard.
We considered advocating the use of measles vaccine rather than MMR but chose the latter because it also protects against mumps and rubella and because it is more readily available.
The desired outcome is a reduction in the nosocomial transmission of measles.
Although direct comparative studies are lacking, nosocomial outbreaks of measles have been reported (as recently as 1992) in institutions where measles immunization of nonimmune healthcare workers is not universal, whereas such outbreaks have not been reported in institutions with universal immunization.
Values and Validation:
We consulted more than 50 infectious-disease experts in epidemiology, government, medicine, nursing, obstetrics and gynecology pediatrics, and surgery. In light of disagreement regarding the implementation of the standard, we used group discussions to reach a consensus.
Benefits, Harms, and Cost:
The consequences of the transmission of measles (and of mumps and rubella) in a healthcare institution include not only the morbidity and mortality attributable to the disease, but also the significant cost of evaluating and containing an outbreak and the serious disruption of regular hospital routines when control measures are instituted. The potential harm to healthcare workers after the implementation of the standard consists of untoward effects of MMR vaccine, although the reactions of vaccines should be minimal with adherence to recommended vaccination procedures. Implementation of the standard should entail no expense to healthcare workers; the precise cost to institutions is unknown, but the expense would be mitigated by prevention of measles outbreaks.
We recommend MMR vaccination of all healthcare workers who lack immunity to measles.
The Quality Standards Subcommittee of the Clinical Affairs Committee of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) developed the standard. The subcommittee was composed of representatives of the IDSA (Drs. Gross and McGowan), the Society for Hospital Epidemiology of America (Dr. Wenzel), the Surgical Infection Society (Dr. Dellinger), the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (Dr. Krause), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Dr. Martone), the Obstetrics and Gynecology Infectious Diseases Society (Dr. Sweet), and the Association of Practitioners of Infection Control (Ms. Barrett). Funding was provided by the IDSA and the other cooperating organizations. The standard is endorsed by the IDSA.
Antimicrobials are a major part of hospital pharmacy budgets and must be considered in resource planning and spending projections. Logically, trends in antimicrobial usage should be linked to trends in resistant pathogens.
To examine long-term trends in antimicrobial use over a 15-year period (1978 to 1992) and contrast them with changes in pathogens causing nosocomial bacteremia.
A 900-bed, tertiary care teaching hospital.
Pharmacy records were reviewed to identify parenteral antimicrobial agents administered to adult inpatients. Results were expressed in average daily adult doses per 1,000 patient days.
Chloramphenicol use decreased, while use of penicillin G, antistaphylococcal penicillins, first-generation cephalosporins, and aminoglycosides remained relatively stable. In contrast, there was a sharp increase in the use of second- and third-generation cephalosporins (7-fold and 6.5-fold increase, respectively), vancomycin (161 -fold increase), metronidazole (32-fold increase) and amphotericin B (35-fold increase). The proportion of nosocomial bacteremias due to methicillin-resistant gram-positive bacteria rose, but gentamicin resistance in gram-negatives remained at low levels. During the past 14 years, the percentage of patients receiving at least one parenteral antimicrobial rose from 23% to 44%. Among patients receiving antimicrobials, the average number of different agents used per patient increased from 1.8 to 2.1
If newer agents were available, use of older agents usually declined. If newer alternatives were not available, use of older agents rose sharply. The increased use of antimicrobials in adults was related to the expanded proportion of patients receiving these agents.