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A hospital-onset bacteremia and fungemia (HOB) metric will expand hospital surveillance of bloodstream infections beyond current state and provide an opportunity to re-evaluate infection prevention strategies. Here we consider the added value and potential pitfalls of HOB surveillance and present a framework for the standardized assessment of HOB events.
Studies evaluating the incidence, source, and preventability of hospital-onset bacteremia and fungemia (HOB), defined as any positive blood culture obtained after 3 calendar days of hospital admission, are lacking in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
Design, setting, and participants:
All consecutive blood cultures performed for 6 months during 2020–2021 in 2 hospitals in India were reviewed to assess HOB and National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) reportable central-line–associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) events. Medical records of a convenience sample of 300 consecutive HOB events were retrospectively reviewed to determine source and preventability. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to identify factors associated with HOB preventability.
Among 6,733 blood cultures obtained from 3,558 hospitalized patients, there were 409 and 59 unique HOB and NHSN-reportable CLABSI events, respectively. CLABSIs accounted for 59 (14%) of 409 HOB events. There was a moderate but non-significant correlation (r = 0.51; P = .070) between HOB and CLABSI rates. Among 300 reviewed HOB cases, CLABSIs were identified as source in only 38 (13%). Although 157 (52%) of all 300 HOB cases were potentially preventable, CLABSIs accounted for only 22 (14%) of these 157 preventable HOB events. In multivariable analysis, neutropenia, and sepsis as an indication for blood culture were associated with decreased odds of HOB preventability, whereas hospital stay ≥7 days and presence of a urinary catheter were associated with increased likelihood of preventability.
HOB may have utility as a healthcare-associated infection metric in LMIC settings because it captures preventable bloodstream infections beyond NHSN-reportable CLABSIs.
An academic hospital implemented a severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antigen-test–based strategy to facilitate discontinuation of precautions for patients admitted with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test. Of 171 patients that underwent antigen testing, 68% had an initial negative test performed a median of 5 days after admission. Antigen testing reduced isolation time by 144 hours.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a significant nosocomial pathogen in the ICU. MRSA contamination of healthcare personnel (HCP) gloves and gowns after providing care to patients with MRSA occurs at a rate of 14%–16% in the ICU setting. Little is known about whether the MRSA isolates identified on HCP gown and gloves following patient care activities are the same as MRSA isolates identified as colonizing or infecting the patient.
From a multisite cohort of 388 independent patient MRSA isolates and their corresponding HCP gown and glove isolates, we selected 91 isolates pairs using a probability to proportion size (PPS) sampling method. To determine whether the patient and HCP gown or gloves isolates were genetically similar, we used 5 comparative genomic typing methods: phylogenetic analysis, spa typing, multilocus sequence typing (MLST), large-scale BLAST score ratio (LSBSR), and single-nucleotide variant (SNV) analysis.
We identified that 56 (61.5%) of isolate pairs were genetically similar at least by 4 of the methods. Comparably, the spa typing and the LSBSR analyses revealed that >75% of the examined isolate pairs were concordant, with the thresholds established for each analysis.
Many of the patient MRSA isolates were genetically similar to those on the HCP gown or gloves following a patient care activity. This finding indicates that the patient is often the primary source of the MRSA isolates transmitted to the HCP, which can potentially be spread to other patients or hospital settings through HCP vectors. These results have important implications because they provide additional evidence for hospitals considering ending the use of contact precautions (gloves and gowns) for MRSA patients.
Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) can be overdiagnosed on the basis of positive respiratory cultures in the absence of clinical findings of pneumonia. We determined the perceived diagnostic importance of 6 clinical attributes in ordering a respiratory culture to identify opportunities for diagnostic stewardship.
A discrete choice experiment presented participants with a vignette consisting of the same “stem” plus variations in 6 clinical attributes associated with VAP: chest imaging, oxygenation, sputum, temperature, white blood cell count, and blood pressure. Each attribute had 3–4 levels, resulting in 32 total scenarios. Participants indicated whether they would order a respiratory culture, and if yes, whether they preferred the bronchoalveolar lavage or endotracheal aspirate sample-collection method. We calculated diagnostic utility of attribute levels and relative importance of each attribute.
Setting and participants:
The survey was administered electronically to critical-care clinicians via a Qualtrics survey at a tertiary-care academic center in the United States.
In total, 59 respondents completed the survey. New radiograph opacity (utility, 1.15; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.99–1.3), hypotension (utility, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.74–1.03), fever (utility, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.62–0.91) and copious sputum (utility, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.60–0.90) had the greatest perceived diagnostic value that favored ordering a respiratory culture. Radiograph changes (23%) and temperature (20%) had the highest relative importance. New opacity (utility, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.17–0.52) and persistent opacity on radiograph (utility, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.05–0.59) had the greatest value favoring bronchoalveolar lavage over endotracheal aspirate.
Perceived high diagnostic value of fever and hypotension suggest that sepsis vigilance may drive respiratory culturing and play a role in VAP overdiagnosis.
External urinary collection devices (ECDs) are increasingly used in female patients, however, their impact on bacteriuria and antimicrobial use is unclear. Comparing the periods before and after the implementation of an ECD use policy, we found an overall decrease in bacteriuria but no significant decrease in trend of monthly rates. Antimicrobial use for genitourinary indications did not change.
To assess preventability of hospital-onset bacteremia and fungemia (HOB), we developed and evaluated a structured rating guide accounting for intrinsic patient and extrinsic healthcare-related risks.
HOB preventability rating guide was compared against a reference standard expert panel.
A 10-member panel of clinical experts was assembled as the standard of preventability assessment, and 2 physician reviewers applied the rating guide for comparison.
The expert panel independently rated 82 hypothetical HOB scenarios using a 6-point Likert scale collapsed into 3 categories: preventable, uncertain, or not preventable. Consensus was defined as concurrence on the same category among ≥70% experts. Scenarios without consensus were deliberated and followed by a second round of rating.
Two reviewers independently applied the rating guide to adjudicate the same 82 scenarios in 2 rounds, with interim revisions. Interrater reliability was evaluated using the κ (kappa) statistic.
Expert panel consensus criteria were met for 52 scenarios (63%) after 2 rounds.
After 2 rounds, guide-based rating matched expert panel consensus in 40 of 52 (77%) and 39 of 52 (75%) cases for reviewers 1 and 2, respectively. Agreement rates between the 2 reviewers were 84% overall (κ, 0.76; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.64–0.88]) and 87% (κ, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.65–0.94) for the 52 scenarios with expert consensus.
Preventability ratings of HOB scenarios by 2 reviewers using a rating guide matched expert consensus in most cases with moderately high interreviewer reliability. Although diversity of expert opinions and uncertainty of preventability merit further exploration, this is a step toward standardized assessment of HOB preventability.
In a large, system-wide, healthcare personnel (HCP) testing experience using severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and serologic testing early in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, we did not find increased infection risk related to COVID-19 patient contact. Our findings support workplace policies for HCP protection and underscore the role of community exposure and asymptomatic infection.
We surveyed acute-care hospitals on strategies to reduce inappropriate C. difficile testing and treatment of colonized patients. Decision support during C. difficile test ordering was common, but “hard stops” to prevent placement of inappropriate orders and active intervention of antimicrobial stewardship programs on positive C. difficile test reports were infrequent.
To determine the utility of the Sofia SARS rapid antigen fluorescent immunoassay (FIA) to guide hospital-bed placement of patients being admitted through the emergency department (ED).
Cross-sectional analysis of a clinical quality improvement study.
This study was conducted in 2 community hospitals in Maryland from September 21, 2020, to December 3, 2020. In total, 2,887 patients simultaneously received the Sofia SARS rapid antigen FIA and SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR assays on admission through the ED.
Rapid antigen results and symptom assessment guided initial patient placement while confirmatory RT-PCR was pending. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive values, and negative predictive values of the rapid antigen assay were calculated relative to RT-PCR, overall and separately for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. Assay sensitivity was compared to RT-PCR cycle threshold (Ct) values. Assay turnaround times were compared. Clinical characteristics of RT-PCR–positive patients and potential exposures from false-negative antigen assays were evaluated.
For all patients, overall agreement was 97.9%; sensitivity was 76.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 71%–82%), and specificity was 99.7% (95% CI, 99%–100%). We detected no differences in performance between asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals. As RT-PCR Ct increased, the sensitivity of the antigen assay decreased. The mean turnaround time for the antigen assay was 1.2 hours (95% CI, 1.0–1.3) and for RT-PCR it was 20.1 hours (95% CI, 18.9–40.3) (P < .001). No transmission from antigen-negative/RT-PCR–positive patients was identified.
Although not a replacement for RT-PCR for detection of all SARS-CoV-2 infections, the Sofia SARS antigen FIA has clinical utility for potential initial timely patient placement.
The state of Maryland identified its first case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on March 5, 2020. The Baltimore Convention Center (BCCFH) quickly became a selected location to set up a 250-bed inpatient field hospital and alternate care site. In contrast to other field hospitals throughout the United States, the BCCFH remained open throughout the pandemic and took on additional COVID-19 missions, including community severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) diagnostic testing, monoclonal antibody infusions for COVID-19 outpatients, and community COVID-19 vaccinations.
To prevent the spread of pathogens during operations, infection prevention and control guidelines were essential to ensure the safety of staff and patients. Through multi-agency collaboration, use of infection prevention best practices, and answering what we describe as PPE-ESP, an operational framework was established to reduce infection risks for those providing or receiving care at the BCCFH during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prompt diagnosis and intervention for ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is critical but can lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment.
We investigated healthcare provider (HCP) perceptions and challenges associated with VAP diagnosis, and we sought to identify opportunities for diagnostic stewardship.
We conducted a qualitative study of 30 HCPs at a tertiary-care hospital. Participants included attending physicians, residents and fellows (trainees), advanced practice providers (APPs), and pharmacists. Interviews were composed of open-ended questions in 4 sections: (1) clinical suspicion and thresholds for respiratory culture ordering, (2) preferences for respiratory sample collection, (3) culture report interpretation, and (4) VAP diagnosis and treatment. Interviews transcripts were analyzed using Nvivo 12 software, and responses were organized into themes.
Overall, 10 attending physicians (75%) and 16 trainees (75%) trainees and APPs believed they were overdiagnosing VAP; this response was frequent among HCPs in practice 5–10 years (91%, n = 12). Increased identification of bacteria as a result of frequent respiratory culturing, misinterpretation of culture data, and fear of missing diagnosis were recognized as drivers of overdiagnosis and overtreatment. Although most HCPs rely on clinical and radiographic changes to initiate work-up, the fear of missing a diagnosis leads to sending cultures even in the absence of those changes.
HCPs believe that VAP overdiagnosis and overtreatment are common due to fear of missing diagnosis, overculturing, and difficulty distinguishing colonization from infection. Although we identified opportunities for diagnostic stewardship, interventions influencing the ordering of cultures and starting antimicrobials will need to account for strongly held beliefs and ICU practices.
In this cross-sectional study, we examined the relationship between resident level of care in the nursing home and colonization with resistant gram-negative bacteria. Residential-care residents were more likely to be colonized with resistant gram-negative bacteria than were postacute care residents (odds ratio, 2.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.40–3.80; P < .001).
To determine whether electronically available comorbidities and laboratory values on admission are risk factors for hospital-onset Clostridioides difficile infection (HO-CDI) across multiple institutions and whether they could be used to improve risk adjustment.
All patients at least 18 years of age admitted to 3 hospitals in Maryland between January 1, 2016, and January 1, 2018.
Comorbid conditions were assigned using the Elixhauser comorbidity index. Multivariable log-binomial regression was conducted for each hospital using significant covariates (P < .10) in a bivariate analysis. Standardized infection ratios (SIRs) were computed using current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) risk adjustment methodology and with the addition of Elixhauser score and individual comorbidities.
At hospital 1, 314 of 48,057 patient admissions (0.65%) had a HO-CDI; 41 of 8,791 patient admissions (0.47%) at community hospital 2 had a HO-CDI; and 75 of 29,211 patient admissions (0.26%) at community hospital 3 had a HO-CDI. In multivariable regression, Elixhauser score was a significant risk factor for HO-CDI at all hospitals when controlling for age, antibiotic use, and antacid use. Abnormal leukocyte level at hospital admission was a significant risk factor at hospital 1 and hospital 2. When Elixhauser score was included in the risk adjustment model, it was statistically significant (P < .01). Compared with the current CDC SIR methodology, the SIR of hospital 1 decreased by 2%, whereas the SIRs of hospitals 2 and 3 increased by 2% and 6%, respectively, but the rankings did not change.
Electronically available patient comorbidities are important risk factors for HO-CDI and may improve risk-adjustment methodology.
Interrupted time series segmented regression was conducted to trend antibiotic use and multidrug-resistant gram-negative (MDRGN) acquisition relative to COVID-19 in an academic hospital. Total antibiotic use and antibiotic use related to pneumonia was higher in the period after the onset of COVID-19 compared to the similar calendar period in 2019. Furthermore, MDRGN acquisition increased 3% for every increase in positive COVID-19 tests per week.
This survey investigated diagnostic and antimicrobial stewardship practices related to molecular respiratory panel testing in adults with lower respiratory tract infections at acute care hospitals. Most respondents reported use of rapid respiratory panels, but related stewardship practices were uncommon and the real-world impact of respiratory panels were difficult to quantify.
Background: Hospital-onset bacteremia and fungemia (HOB) may be a preventable hospital-acquired condition and a potential healthcare quality measure. We developed and evaluated a tool to assess the preventability of HOB and compared it to a more traditional consensus panel approach. Methods: A 10-member healthcare epidemiology expert panel independently rated the preventability of 82 hypothetical HOB case scenarios using a 6-point Likert scale (range, 1= “Definitively or Almost Certainly Preventable” to 6= “Definitely or Almost Certainly Not Preventable”). Ratings on the 6-point scale were collapsed into 3 categories: Preventable (1–2), Uncertain (3–4), or Not preventable (5–6). Consensus was defined as concurrence on the same category among ≥70% expert raters. Cases without consensus were deliberated via teleconference, web-based discussion, and a second round of rating. The proportion meeting consensus, overall and by predefined HOB source attribution, was calculated. A structured HOB preventability rating tool was developed to explicitly account for patient intrinsic and extrinsic healthcare-related risks (Fig. 1). Two additional physician reviewers independently applied this tool to adjudicate the same 82 case scenarios. The tool was iteratively revised based on reviewer feedback followed by repeat independent tool-based adjudication. Interrater reliability was evaluated using the Kappa statistic. Proportion of cases where tool-based preventability category matched expert consensus was calculated. Results: After expert panel round 1, consensus criteria were met for 29 cases (35%), which increased to 52 (63%) after round 2. Expert consensus was achieved more frequently for respiratory or surgical site infections than urinary tract and central-line–associated bloodstream infections (Fig. 2a). Most likely to be rated preventable were vascular catheter infections (64%) and contaminants (100%). For tool-based adjudication, following 2 rounds of rating with interim tool revisions, agreement between the 2 reviewers was 84% for cases overall (κ, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.64–0.88]), and 87% for the 52 cases with expert consensus (κ, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.65–0.94). Among cases with expert consensus, tool-based rating matched expert consensus in 40 of 52 (77%) and 39 of 52 (75%) cases for reviewer 1 and reviewer 2, respectively. The proportion of cases rated “uncertain“ was lower among tool-based adjudicated cases with reviewer agreement (15 of 69) than among cases with expert consensus (23 of 52) (Fig. 2b). Conclusions: Healthcare epidemiology experts hold varying perspectives on HOB preventability. Structured tool-based preventability rating had high interreviewer reliability, matched expert consensus in most cases, and rated fewer cases with uncertain preventability compared to expert consensus. This tool is a step toward standardized assessment of preventability in future HOB evaluations.
Background: In 2018, the Maryland Department of Health, in collaboration with the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University, created the Statewide Prevention and Reduction of Clostridioides difficile (SPARC) collaborative to reduce C. difficile as specified in Healthy People 2020. Methods: The SPARC collaborative recruited hospitals contributing most cases to statewide C. difficile standardized infection ratio (SIR), according to data reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). SPARC developed intervention bundles around 4 domains: infection prevention, environmental cleaning, and diagnostic and antimicrobial stewardship. Each facility completed a self-assessment followed by an on-site, day-long, peer-to-peer (P2P) evaluation with 8–12 SPARC subject matter experts (SMEs) representing each domain. The SMEs met with hospital executive leadership and then led 4 domain-based group discussions with relevant hospital team leaders. To identify policy and practice gaps, SMEs visited hospital inpatient units for informal interviews with frontline staff. In a closing session, SPARC SMEs, hospital executives, and team leaders reconvened to discuss preliminary findings. This included review of covert observation data (hand hygiene, personal protective equipment compliance, environmental cleaning) obtained by SPARC team 1–2 weeks prior. Final SPARC P2P written recommendations guided development of customized interventions at each hospital. SPARC provided continuous support (follow up phone calls, educational webinars, technical support, didactic training for antimicrobial stewardship pharmacists) to enhance facility-specific implementation. For every quarter, we categorized C. difficile NHSN data for each Maryland hospital into “SPARC” or “non-SPARC” based on participation status. Using negative binomial mixed models, we analyzed difference-in-difference of pre- and postincidence rate ratios (IRRs) for SPARC and non-SPARC hospitals, which allowed estimation of change attributable to SPARC participation independent of other time-varying factors. Results: Overall, 13 of 48 (27%) hospitals in Maryland participated in the intervention. The baseline SIR for all Maryland hospitals was 0.92, and the post-SPARC SIR was 0.67. The SPARC hospitals had a greater reduction in hospital-onset C. difficile incidence; 8.6 and 4.3 events per 10,000 patient days for baseline and most recent quarter, respectively. For non-SPARC hospitals, these hospital-onset C. difficile incidences were 5.1 preintervention and 4.3 postintervention. We found a statistically significant difference-in-difference between SPARC and non-SPARC hospital C. difficile reduction rates (ratio of IRR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.44−0.89; P = .01). Conclusions: The Maryland SPARC collaborative, a public health-academic partnership, was associated with a 25% reduction in the Maryland C. difficile SIR. Hospitals participating in SPARC demonstrated significantly reduced C. difficile incidences to match that of high-performing hospitals in Maryland.