An ongoing dialogue on HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases,
December 13th, 2009
Infection and the ICU: Outcome Predictable, but Important
If you enrolled over 14,000 ICU patients into a study on a single day, and then did follow-up, what would you find regarding the relationship of infection to the outcomes of ICU stay and mortality?
Infections are common in patients in contemporary ICUs, and risk of infection increases with duration of ICU stay. In this large cohort, infection was independently associated with an increased risk of hospital death.
To an ID specialist, this is kind of like reading that someone has done a study linking time spent outside in the rain and the likelihood of becoming wet. Patients in ICUs are susceptible to getting infections for innumerable reasons — so many that it seems to us (from our admittedly biased perspective) almost remarkable when an infection doesn’t occur.
In all seriousness, ICU-related infections are a gargantuan problem, and if this study helps publicize the clinical and research needs, more power to it.