Which BSI are preventable?


Intravenous literature: Bonnal, C., Mourvillier, B., Bronchard, R., De Paula, D., Armand-Lefevre, L., L’heriteau, F., Quenon, J.L. and Lucet, J.C. (2010) Prospective assessment of hospital-acquired bloosdstream infections: how many may be preventable? Quality and Safety in Health Care. 19:1-5 .


Objective – To determine the proportion of preventable hospital-acquired bloodstream infections (HA-BSIs), the authors prospectively examined consecutive cases in a large university hospital over an 18-month period.

Patients and methods – Medical charts were assessed with the physician in charge of the patient within 4 days after HA-BSI diagnosis to determine whether the infection was healthcare-related. Preventability was assessed using a validated tool. Results of 378 HA-BSIs (incidence rate, 1.00 per 1000 patient-days), 341 were first HA-BSI episodes in a patient, and 272 (79.8%) were secondary to an identifiable source, of whom 196 (57.5%) were related to medical management. These 196 HA-BSIs were related to an invasive procedure (n=163), a non-invasive medical management (n=30) or both (n=3).

Results – Of the 272 patients with HA-BSIs from identifiable sources, 55 (20.2%) had no underlying disease, 115 (42.3%) had an ultimately fatal underlying disease, 99 (36.4%) had a rapidly fatal disease, and three (1.1%) were not evaluated. Of the 196 iatrogenic HA-BSIs, 66 were considered preventable (most of them being related to an intravascular catheter), 84 were of uncertain preventability, and 46 were not preventable. In total, 66 of the 341 HA-BSIs (19.4%) were considered preventable, and 191 (56.0%) were not preventable.

Conclusion – Although evaluation of the preventability of hospital-associated adverse events has been reported to be difficult and of limited reliability, our simple method may help to identify wards or HA-BSI types that warrant in-depth evaluation.


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