University of Oulu

Infections in intensive care; epidemiology and outcome

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Author: Ylipalosaari, Pekka1,2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Anaesthesiology
2Oulu University Hospital, Department of Infection Control
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: 2007
Publish Date: 2007-05-15
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented, with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Oulu, for public defence in Auditorium 1 of Oulu University Hospital, on May 25th, 2007, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Docent Outi Lyytikäinen
Docent Esko Ruokonen


Systematic analyses of infections in critical illness are sparse and mostly restricted to specific infection categories. Thus, a prospective study was carried out in a medical-surgical ICU during 14 months on patients whose ICU stay was longer than 48 h. The prospectively gathered data included detailed patient history, infection survey, severity of illness scores (APACHE II, SOFA), resource use, short-term and long-term outcome and quality of life following hospital discharge.

Altogether 335 patients were included, of whom 251 (74.9%) had an infection on admission; 59.3% had a community-acquired infection (CAI) and 40.7% a hospital-acquired infection (HAI), while 84 (25.1%) did not have any infection (NI). APACHE II scores and ICU or hospital mortality rates did not differ between the groups. The median hospital stay was longer in the HAI than in the CAI or NI groups.

Eighty (23.9%) of the 335 patients developed an ICU-acquired infection (48 per 1000 patient days): ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in 33.8% of the cases, central catheter-related (CRI) or primary bloodstream infections in 6.3% and urinary tract infections in 1.3%, while the corresponding device-related incidences per 1000 days were 18.8, 2.2 and 0.5, respectively.

ICU-acquired infection was an independent risk factor for hospital mortality. It doubled the risk for hospital mortality in patients with an infection on admission and caused a threefold the risk in patients without an infection on admission and an almost fourfold increase in the use of nursing resources.

Of the 272 hospital survivors, 83 (30.5%) died after discharge during the median follow-up of 17 weeks. Infection status on admission or during the ICU stay did not affect long-term mortality. ICU-acquired infection did not have an impact on patients’ quality of life. The current general level of health compared to the status before ICU admission did not differ between the groups, either. Only 36% of those employed resumed their previous jobs.

Three-fourths of patients had an infection on admission, while nearly one fourth acquired an ICU infection. The high VAP rate suggests a need for re-evaluation of preventive measures, whereas the low CRI indicates more successful prevention. ICU-acquired infection was a significant risk factor for hospital mortality, but did not affect patients’ long-term survival or quality of life.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 978-951-42-8448-9
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-8447-2
Issue: 925
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2007. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.