Skip to main content
Log in

Epidemiology of nosocomial infections in adult intensive care units

  • Published:
Intensive Care Medicine Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Patients in intensive care units (ICUs) are a small subgroup of all hospitalized patients, but they account for approximately 25% of all hospital infections. Nosocomial infection rates among ICU patients are 5–10 times higher than among general ward patients. ICU infection rates are higher due to complex interactions between the patients' underlying disease, severity of illness, type of ICU, duration of stay, and invasive devices used. Antimicrobial resistance is a major clinical problem despite potent and newer antibiotics. Organisms that pose a clinically significant resistance problem among ICU patients include methicillin-resistant staphylococci, enterococci, a wide variety of enterobacteriaceae,Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pseudomonas cepacia, Xanthomonas maltophila, Acinetobacter andCandida species. Traditional infection control measures include identification of reservoirs, halting transmission between patients, stopping progression from colonization to infection and modifying host risk. In addition, sound selection procedures and guidelines for antibiotic usage are necessary to control the spread of multi-resistant micro-organisms.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  1. Weinstein RA (1991) Epidemiology and control of nosocomial infections in adult intensive care units. Am J Med 91(SB): 179S-184S

    Google Scholar 

  2. Wenzel RP, Thompson RL, Landry SM et al (1983) Hospital-acquired infections in intensive care unit patients: an overview with emphasis on epidemics. Infect Control 4:371–375

    Google Scholar 

  3. Jarvis WR, Edwards JR, Culver DH et al (1991) Nosocomial infection rates in adult and pediatric intensive care units in the United States. Am J Med 91 (S3B):185S-191A

    Google Scholar 

  4. Kappstein I, Daschner FD (1990) Nosocomial infections in intensive care units. Curr Opin Infect Dis 3:509–516

    Google Scholar 

  5. Trilla A, Marco F, Moreno A et al (1993) Epidemiologia clinica de un brote de infection nosocomial porStaphylococcus aureus resistente a metillina y aminoglucosidos: eficacia de las medidas de control. Med Clin (Barc) 100:205–209

    Google Scholar 

  6. Beck Saque C, Jarvis WR (1989) Epidemic bloodstream infections associated with pressure transducers: a persistent problem. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 10:55–59

    Google Scholar 

  7. Henderson DK, Baptiste R, Parillo J, Gill VJ (1988) Indolent epidemicPseudomonas cepacia bacteremia and pseudobacteremia in an intensive care unit traced to a contaminated blood gas analyzer. Am J Med 84:75–81

    Google Scholar 

  8. Villarino ME, Jarvis WR, O'Hara C, Bresnahan J, Clark N (1989) Epidemic ofSerratia marcescens bacteremia in a cardiac intensive care unit. J Clin Microbiol 27:2433–2436

    Google Scholar 

  9. Horan T, Culver D, Harvis WR (1988) Pathogens causing nosocomial infections. Antimicrob Newsletter 5:65–67

    Google Scholar 

  10. Widmer AF, Wenzel RP, Trilla A, Bale MJ, Jones RN, Doebbelling BN (1993) Outbreak ofPseudomonas aeruginosa infections in a surgical intensive care unit: probable transmission via hands of a healthcare worker. Clin Infect Dis 16:372–376

    Google Scholar 

  11. Doebbeling BN, Stanley GL, Sheetz CT et al (1992) Comparative efficacy of alternative hand-washing agents in reducing nosocomial infections in intensive care units. N Engl J Med 327:88–93

    Google Scholar 

  12. Wenzel RP, Osterman CA, Donowitz LG et al (1991) Identification of procedure-related nosocomial infections in high risk patients. Rev Infect Dis 3:701–707

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Trilla, A. Epidemiology of nosocomial infections in adult intensive care units. Intensive Care Med 20 (Suppl 3), S1–S4 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01745243

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01745243

Key words

Navigation