Dangerous central line infections drop among PA hospital patients

Written by Megan Lello and Radio Pennsylvania | Sep 22, 2012 8:02 AM

(Harrisburg) -- Patients checking into hospitals in the state are now less likely to contract one type of harmful bloodstream infection.

Since 2010, the rate of central line-associated bloodstream infections, stemming from the large I.V. catheters that deliver medicine and nutrients to patients, has dipped to 0.81 out of every 1,000 central line days. That's under the nadoctor_with_needle.jpgtional rate of 1.137, a 40 percent decrease from two years ago.

Roger Baumgarten, spokesman for the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, says central line infections can be especially dangerous. "These tend to be longer-term, where you need sort of an entry point for medications, so they tend to be people who, very often, are sicker to begin with, and are more compromised and more vulnerable. Therefore, we need to be even more diligent and more careful about being sure that those infections are prevented."

Baumgarten says nationally, the decline in infections is estimated to have saved more than 500 lives and $34 million.

The study was conducted by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality and the American Hospital Association.

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