What Are the Most Common Types of Hospital Acquired Infections?

What Are the Most Common Types of Hospital Acquired Infections?

When a patient becomes ill with an infection after having been admitted to the hospital for the treatment of an unrelated condition (or within three days of being discharged, and with no existing signs of infection, it can be said to be a hospital-acquired, or nosocomial infection.

Healthcare-associated infections are preventable and they represent a significant threat to patient safety in a healthcare environment according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, the CDC reports that on any given day, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection.

What is the cause of hospital-acquired infections?

Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are often caused by bacteria and other pathogens that are prevalent in a healthcare environment. When a patient is ill or injured, they may have a compromised immune system that is not successful in fighting off these infections when they are exposed to them. A patient may develop an infection in hospitals that are not as clean as they should be, or when the medical staff fails to follow best practices in preventing HAIs.

Per the National Library of Medicine:

Hospital-acquired infections, also known as healthcare-associated infections (HAI), are nosocomially acquired infections that are typically not present or might be incubating at the time of admission. These infections are usually acquired after hospitalization and manifest 48 hours after admission to the hospital. The infections are monitored closely by agencies such as the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This surveillance is done to prevent HAI and improve patient safety.

Common types of hospital-acquired infections

Some of the most common types of HAIs include the following:

  • Central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI)
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)
  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI)
  • Surgical site infections
  • Clostridium difficile
  • Ventilator-associated Pneumonia (VAP)
  • Surgical site infection (SSI)

The CDC conducts an annual National and State Healthcare-Associated Infections Progress Report (HAI Progress Report), which provides state and national progress in preventing HAIs. Some of the highlights of the 2021 data include:

  • Overall, 7% increase in CLABSIs between 2020 and 2021
    • Largest increase in ICUs (10%)
  • Overall, 5% increase in CAUTIs between 2020 and 2021
    • Largest increase in ICUs (9%)
  • Overall, there was a 12% increase in ventilator-associated events (VAEs) between 2020 and 2021
    • Observed a 12% increase in ICUs
    • Observed a 16% increase in non-ICUs
  • There was 14% increase in hospital onset MRSA bacteremia between 2020 and 2021
  • There was a 3% decrease in hospital onset  difficileinfections between 2020 and 2021

Per DC.gov:

DC Health conducts routine surveillance for a wide range of infectious diseases and related health outcomes. Healthcare facilities in DC are required to report certain HAIs to the DC Health’s HAI program using the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). NHSN is a secure, internet-based surveillance system designed and maintained by the CDC, and serves as the nation’s most widely used HAI tracking system. HAI data are required by law to be reported to DC Health and national agencies. The data are used to track infection rates over time and assess differences among facilities, detect and investigate clusters or outbreaks, identify emerging infectious diseases and antibiotic-resistant organisms and prevent their spread, assess the effectiveness of prevention and control measures, and target performance improvement activities and measure their effectiveness.

If you contracted a hospital-acquired infection while you were in the hospital, or within three days of being discharged from a hospital stay, you may want to schedule a consultation with an experienced Washington, D.C. medical malpractice attorney from Paulson & Nace, PLLC. Please call our office or fill out our contact form to learn more about our services.

Related Articles