Posts tagged: healthcare-associated infection

The Underreporting of Pneumonia Infections In Hospitals

Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP) is a type of lung infection that occurs in individuals receiving mechanical intubation. In intensive-care units, VAP is one of the leading causes of healthcare-associated infections, however there is currently no reliable definition of a VAP patient. Preventing VAP continues to be a priority, as it is associated with increased healthcare costs, longer hospital stays, and increased mortality and morbidity.

Defining a VAP infection is based on subjective elements and will need further standardization. A new system that is currently scheduled for implementation in 2013 will categorize VAP into 4 levels:

  1. Ventilator-associated condition (VAC)
  2. Infection-related complications (IVAC)
  3. Possible VAP
  4. Probable VAP

Like other healthcare-associated infections, the underreporting of infection rates continues to be a general trend. With healthcare-associated infections being the most common type of hospital-related complication, this fact is even more alarming. In a recent review of over 100 hospitals in California concluded that approximately 1/3 of all healthcare-associated infections go unreported. Read more »

The Human Microbiome Project: Which Bacteria Live Normally In Your Body

In a recent post, I discussed the release of a new drug to combat C. diff. In that post, an important theme was the fact that several types of germs can live in the bodies of humans without causing harm—until our bodies are no longer able to keep such germs in check. But exactly which types of germs live normally in the human body? Well, thanks to the dedication of many brilliant scientists, the Human Microbiome Project answers that question, as it has mapped out specifically which microbes live in the normal human body.

One of the project’s main areas of exploration was aimed at learning more about why certain microbes harm some individuals, but not others. In order to learn more about the various microbes, scientists analyzed the DNA of the many different types of germs. This endeavor involved over 200 scientists affiliated with nearly 80 different research institutions. Five years and $173 million dollars later, we now know more about the 10,000+ species of microbes that reside within the average human body, and how they all work together.

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Two-Time Cancer Survivor Fights Off Deadly MRSA Infection

In April 2003, while the budding and blossoming of new life surrounded the springtime air, Sally would soon be left fighting for her life. Sally, a two-time cancer survivor, was sent to the hospital to undergo reconstructive surgery on her breasts. After a few hard years of treatment for breast cancer, Sally was fortunate to have won the battle against cancer and hoped to put her struggles behind her.

The surgery was a success, but as with any surgical procedure, nothing could have prepared Sally for the pain she was about to endure. Numerous stitches held Sally’s incisions together. She was told not to move without assistance from medical personnel. One nurse entered Sally’s room to turn her and make her more comfortable, but this required further medical staff. While Sally was waiting for the medical staff to arrive, she took the initiative to attempt to turn over on her own. This caused several stitches to detach from the incision, which slowed down the healing process.

Sally subsequently developed severe, swollen blotches on her body. Such manifestations caused her more pain than the actual incisions from the procedure. Her incisions soon became infected as well, although Sally’s doctor neglected to disclose the type of infection she had acquired. According to Sally, the doctor assumed the infection was MRSA. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a superbug that does not get better with first-line antibiotic treatments, thus considered “resistant.”

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Healthcare-Associated Infections: A Silent Epidemic That Took My Father

In July of 2008, my father, Richard G. Croke Jr., went into the hospital for a surgery to remove a piece of his esophagus after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer the previous winter. While the initial chances of survival for this type of cancer were slim, six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatments left my dad cancer free. Although the esophagealectomy was an invasive procedure, we were told that the surgery would be the easy part of his journey now that he was cancer free.

The day after his surgery, I went to the hospital to visit him. He was up talking and cracking jokes in his usual manner. Everything seemed fine. Until we received a phone call from the hospital in the middle of the night saying that my dad was extremely ill and might not make it through the night. That was the beginning of the six weeks that changed our lives forever.

Upon entering his ICU room that night, my dad was full of almost 100 pounds of excess fluid, was attached to a number of IVs, and had a ventilator breathing for him. We were told that my dad was in septic shock, which was caused by MRSA entering the bloodstream through the contaminated central line on his foot. He spent six weeks in the hospital, and for a while was getting better until he caught C. diff about a month after the initial bout with sepsis.

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The Growing Temptation to Underreport Healthcare-associated Infections

Over the past decade, there has been much written about the rise of antibiotic resistant pathogens and the growing numbers of serious healthcare-associated infections. Some statistics have put the total cost of healthcare-associated infections at around $35-$45 billion dollars1. Infections associated with MRSA have been estimated to cost about $3-$4 billion2 and ventilator-associated pneumonia costs another $3 billion3. The truth is that we really do not know the extent of the problem or the associated costs, and this in itself is a problem. Whatever the number, we can all agree that the costs of healthcare-associated infections are an enormous drain on the economy, and this is prior to factoring in any of the socio-economic multiplier effects of HAIs due to death, loss of employment, impact on families/companies etc.

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Ondine Study Shows Reduction of Endotracheal Tube Biofilm Using Photodisinfection

Ventilator-associated pneumonia is one of the most common and deadliest forms of healthcare-associated infections.  In the U.S alone, more than one million patients in healthcare facilities require mechanical ventilation every year. Up to 1 in 4 of these patients are reported to develop ventilator-associated pneumonia and up to half of them will die.1

Antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (aPDT), commonly known as Photodisinfection, is a non-invasive technique that used to study the reduction of biofilm in the lumen of an endotracheal tube. When patients undergo mechanical ventilation, an endotracheal tube is inserted into their throat to assist with breathing. This tube has long been recognized as a major factor in a patient’s risk for developing biofilm infections. For patients that require mechanical ventilation, such as those in ICUs, the biofilm can dislodge from the endotracheal tube and enter the lungs directly, often resulting in difficult-to-treat pneumonia.

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Catheter-Associated UTIs: How Infection Occurs

Urinary tract infections are one of the most common healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in the US, accounting for 30% of all reported cases.  Approximately 75% of these UTIs are associated with the use of urinary catheters1, which are called catheter-associated UTIs. Patients with long term catheterization have been shown to have a higher risk of developing a catheter-associated biofilm infection.

In the US, more than five million hospital and nursing home patients require urinary catheterization every year2. This process is illustrated in the images above. During urinary catheterization, a thin flexible plastic tube is lubricated and inserted into a patient’s urethra. Once the catheter enters the bladder, a small balloon is inflated to hold the tube in place. A urine drainage bag with an emptying spout is connected to the external end of the catheter. This end collects the urine. Read more »

New Application of Photodynamic Disinfection to be Funded by UK’s Medical Research Council: Catheter-Associated Infection Prevention

Today we announced a significant new opportunity for both our company and for the Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) world. By awarding our groups a £ 1 million award to develop PDT based products to prevent catheter associated infections, the UK Government has validated the need for solutions as well as endorsed the potential of Photodynamic Therapy in this role.

Together with a team of multi-disciplined experts at University College London (UCL), Ondine will collaborate on an important new initiative which leverages our combined 30 plus years of history in photodynamics to develop a new major class of medical devices based on Photodynamic disinfection. The new class of products will address the multi-billion dollar issue of catheter-associated infections, firmly placing Ondine as a leading supplier of innovative non-antibiotic products addressing  the $35-$45 billion per year healthcare-associated infection (HAI) market1. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are considered to be the largest source of HAIs, representing about 30% of all reported cases, with catheter-associated UTIs representing 75% of this number. Read more »

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