Critical Catch

ICUs,considered the safest sections of a hospital,also result in serious Hospital-Acquired Infections.

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published:March 6, 2013 12:50 am

ICUs,considered the safest sections of a hospital,also result in serious Hospital-Acquired Infections.

Here’s some news that could set the alarm bells ringing. The ICU in any hospital,considered the safest option for a patient,is actually home to most drug-resistant bugs. A report on Indian Intensive Care Case Mix and Practice Patterns reveals that one out of every eight Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients dies from ICU infection. The study surveyed 4,209 patients,including 171 children,admitted in 124 ICUs across 17 states,and the results are startling.

The report says infection rates for ICUs vary between 14 per cent and 35 per cent and patients are more likely to develop a Hospital-Acquired Infection (HAI) in an ICU than elsewhere in a hospital. Dr Arpita Dwivedy,critical care consultant in a hospital in Mumbai,says,“ICUs of the hospitals are designed to meet the requirements of critically ill patients. They are built and equipped with the finest hospital infrastructure and proficiency,but there are certain factors which contribute considerably towards making room for super infections in ICUs.”

Doctors in the city point out that while an individual can contract bacterial infection through infected environment or people,ICU infections are more dangerous owing to its particular environment,patient and type of treatment provided there.

“Several reasons work in synergy to make ICU infection perilous. First are the critical patients themselves,who,by default,are more vulnerable to infections. Secondly,high-end antibiotics being used to treat them makes resident fauna to mutate and become resistant to advanced antibiotics,leading to evolution of superbugs in ICU setting. Thirdly,the level of hygiene in hospital,which also determines the incidences of ICU infection,” says Dr Dwivedy.

According to health experts,hospital authorities need to keep a close tab on hygiene practices inside an ICU and also invest in research and development activities to bring about innovations in antibiotics so that microbes do not harm people.

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