Study: Elderly Patients Have 35% Higher Risk of Death After Contracting Infections in ICUs

Elderly patients in hospital intensive care units have a higher risk of mortality if they develop an infection during their stay, according to a study published Monday in the American Journal of Infection Control, Modern Healthcare reports.

For the study, researchers analyzed the health outcomes of more than 17,000 Medicare beneficiaries who were admitted to 31 hospitals in 2002. The researchers also looked at an additional five years of Medicare claims data to assess patients' long-term health outcomes and costs associated with health care-associated infections.

According to the study, patients who developed an infection while being treated in the hospitals' ICUs were 35% more likely to die within five years of being discharged from the hospital. However, the study noted that infection prevention efforts -- including those to contain central-line bloodstream infections and pneumonia, which are the two most common types of health care-associated infections -- can increase patients' chances of survival and decrease care costs by more than $150,000 per patient.

The study found that infection prevention programs resulted in an average survival increase of 15 years for patients treated in the ICUs and an average survival increase of 10 years when patients were prevented from contracting pneumonia (Ross Johnson, Modern Healthcare, 1/5).

-- compiled by Ashley Fuoco, American Healthline