People go to hospitals to overcome illness. However, very often, patients land up becoming more ill in the hospital due to infections that they contract during their stay. Sanjay Saint, M.D., University of Michigan Health System said that hospital born infections are common, costly and harmful, but they are preventable. Every year thousands die from hospital infections which can be prevented by new and simple changes. Dr. Saint added that some of these infections are treated with antibiotics or removal of a device like a catheter, while others lead to overwhelming bacteremia and death. He indicated that central venous catheters are one of the prime culprits, which are used in 3 million people yearly, out of which, 150,000 will cause infections. This is because central venous catheters cause a direct communication between the skin, where a lot of bacteria live, and the bloodstream.
Dr. Saint along with colleagues in the University of Michigan Health System have now shown that an antiseptic-coated catheter can help control hospital born infection as they have found that the incidence of infection is decreased by about 36 percent with such a catheter. Dr. Saint added that urinary catheters are another menace, which are responsible for 40 percent of hospital-born infections. These catheters are used inappropriately between a third to a half of the days that a patient has a catheter and add to this, nearly 40 percent of doctors are unaware their patients have catheters. He said that a patient has a 5 per cent chance of developing a urinary tract infection, for every additional day a catheter is left in.
Dr. Saint concluded that simple ways like having a reminder system, which after two days will remind the physician that the patient has a urinary catheter and that default is removal than continuation, and using antiseptic-coated catheters, though more expensive, will save hospitals $100,000 a year in shorter stays and fewer antibiotics.