20 April 2012

Care-Related Infections Going Down

Story first appeared in Fox News.

The United States is making progress in reducing the spread of infections to patients while they are in the hospital, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

Twenty-one states reported reductions in so-called "central line" bloodstream infections from 2009-2010, according to the federal health agency, which used data from a state-by-state tracking system. According to Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers, this reduction shows great progress in reducing the amount of medical malpractice claims.

A central line is a tube inserted into a large vein of a patient's neck or chest for treatment, often while the patient is in intensive care. When not put in correctly or kept clean, the lines can become a freeway for germs to enter the body and cause serious bloodstream infections.

Nationwide, there was a 32 percent decline in central line bloodstream infections from 2009-2010, said the deputy chief of the surveillance branch in the CDC's division of health care quality promotion. The decline was even greater at 35 percent among intensive care patients. The redued number of health-care related infections can be attributed to national and state prevention efforts.

There were smaller reductions in infections caused by other surgical procedures. There's a lot of room for progress with surgical site infection prevention.

With a state-by-state reporting system called the National Health Care Safety Network, launched in 2006, hospitals can compare their own infection rates with similar facilities. More than 5,000 acute-care hospitals now report data to the network.

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