Infection prevention

The cost and risk of microbial contamination

More than 1.4 million people at any given time suffer from healthcare-associated infections (HAIs)1, and the financial impact and unnecessary patient suffering is severe. Worldwide, as many as 1 in 11 patients in hospitals become infected with potentially life-threatening outcomes2. In a recent study by the European Commission, no fewer than 16 million extra hospital days were attributed to HAI treatment, at a cost of 435 EUR a day, resulting in an unnecessary additional annual spend of 7 billion EUR3.

Further reading: , HAI, SSI or HCAI – This is how they differ

Surgical site infections (SSIs) and hospital-acquired infections (HAIs)

SSIs account for 14 percent of all HAIs and are the third most common type of HAI after urinary tract infections and pneumonia4. Patients with an SSI are twice as likely to die as non-infected patients5.

HAIs are a serious problem. In the UK, for instance, more than 300,000 cases of HAIs are reported annually6. HAIs cause approximately 5,000 deaths per year in the UK alone7.

In a recent report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention, on average 20-30 percent of these nosocomial infections occurring under current healthcare conditions can be prevented8.

How surgical infections are transmitted in the O.R.

Site infections are caused by the transfer of microorganisms to the wound. The transfer can be direct from contact with either patient or staff. Or indirect from either air or from contact with contaminated medical equipment. The source of the infection can be either from the patients themselves – endogenous – for example the patient’s own skin, or, exogenous, most typically from medical staff9.

The risks of microbial contamination – the challenge of MRSA

It is estimated that as much as one-third of the population naturally carries Staphylococcus aureus – the "SA" in MRSA – on the skin10. These bacteria can cause infections in patients’ open wounds and other susceptible sites10. Naturally, this illustrates the importance of keeping Staphylococcus aureus away from contaminating patients’ open wounds.

MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, poses a great challenge for the healthcare sector worldwide. Once developed, these infections are difficult to treat since they are resistant to several antibiotics. This highlights the need to combat MRSA with efficient infection prevention.

The costs of infections from surgery

The total costs of hospital-acquired infections are great and infections from surgery, SSI, are the third most common cause of infections in hospitals4.

In a recent study by the European Commission, no fewer than 16 million extra hospital days were attributed to HAI treatment, at a cost of 435 EUR a day, resulting in an unnecessary additional annual spend of 7 billion EUR3.

However, the location of the infection plays an important role in severity of its impact. A superficial surgical site infection is estimated to cost around 400 USD per case compared to 30,000 USD for a vital organ or space infection4. However, the cost estimates of SSI are often underestimated due to its dependency on proper reporting and the fact that most studies only cover the cost for the extended hospital stay3, 5.

Our solutions – Infection prevention in surgical procedures

The Mölnlycke Health Care solution to help prevent infections follows your patient’s journey through surgery as well as providing healthcare professionals with the right equipment to be able to facilitate prevention of surgical infections. Our product ranges from BARRIER® surgical staff clothing, BARRIER® surgical drapes, BARRIER® EasyWarm® active self-warming blanket, HiBi® antiseptics and  Biogel® surgical gloves make it possible for your hospital to address the issue of infections from surgery.

References

  1. WHO Safety Curriculum Minimizing infection through improved infection control.
  2. National Audit Office. Improving Patient Care by Reducing The Risk of Hospital Acquired Infection: A Progress Report. 2004.
  3. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Annual epidemiological report on the communicable diseases in Europe. 2008: Ch 2: Healthcare-associated infections.
  4. Emori; Gaynes An Overview of Nosocomial Infections, Including the Role of the Microbiolog Laboratory; American Society for Microbiology OCt. 1993, p. 428-442.
  5. R, Keele; Chapter 9; Nursing Research and Evidence – Based Practice; 10 steps to success; Jones and Bartlett; 2011.
  6. Plowman R, Graves N, Griffin MAS, Roberts JA, Swan AV, Cookson B, Taylor L. 2001.The rate and cost of hospital-acquired infections occurring in patients admitted to selected specialities of a district general hospital in England and the national burden imposed. J of Hosp Infec. 47; 198-209.
  7. National Audit Office: Management and Control of Hospital Acquired Infection in Acute NHS Trusts in England. 17th February 2000.
  8. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Annual epidemiological report on the communicable diseases in Europe 2008. Chapter 2: Healthcare-associated infections.
  9. Urban G. Ducel et al; Prevention of hospital-acquired infections; WHO/CDS/CSR/EPH/2002.12.
  10. Public Health England, MRSA information for patients.
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