Hospital infection rate falls in Western Pennsylvania
Western Pennsylvania is way ahead of the country when it comes to attacking a deadly type of hospital-acquired infection, local health experts said Thursday after the release of a national report that shows the infection in decline.
The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said central-line bloodstream infections -- common in very sick patients who have catheters placed in their necks -- declined 18 percent between the period 2006-08 and the first six months of 2009. The region's two leading hospital networks have achieved more significant drops, according to experts with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and West Penn Allegheny Health System.
"Our goal is zero infections," said Dr. Sharon Kiely, vice president and chief quality officer at Allegheny General Hospital. Several patient floors and intensive care units in the North Side hospital have reported zero central-line infections in the past several years. "These infections are unacceptable."
Pennsylvania's infection ratio was below the national average.
The CDC report estimated about 1.7 million hospital infections occur in the United States annually, with central-line infections considered among the more serious. They add about $2.7 billion to health-care costs each year, CDC officials said.
"While we are encouraged by the 18 percent national reduction, we know that the number of infections can be lower," said Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, associate director for health-care-associated infection prevention programs at the CDC. He said the nationwide drop is a significant step forward of meeting a goal of a 50 percent reduction in five years.
Dr. Carlene Muto, medical director of infection control at UPMC, said the hospital network continues its mission to eliminate central-line infections. The infections have dropped to zero in several units, she said.
"You're never done until you're at zero everywhere," Muto said.
In November, workers at all UPMC hospitals began using a twist-on device that disinfects the hub of the central line, an area where drugs are inserted that is prone to contamination.
"There is a cost associated with them, but infections not only cost money, they cost lives," she said. "If we can do anything to get our numbers down, it was worth looking at."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Unsung backups provide boost for Steelers defensive line
- Penguins lose hard-fought game to Blue Jackets in overtime
- Former Pirates pitcher Happ agrees to $36 million, 3-year deal with Blue Jays
- Starkey: Flashback Friday for Pitt
- Puppy, pals come to rescue of Lower Burrell firefighters
- Body found in Allegheny River in Harrison
- Gilbert, son of ex-Pitt football standout, commits to Panthers
- Pitt falls flat in finale loss to Miami
- Unabashed church pastors put politics front and center
- Clairton among greatest WPIAL dynasties; Aliquippa, South Fayette close
- Contractor eyes early finish to work on New Stanton interchange of Interstate 70