Many patients arrive at the hospital seeking treatment for deadly infections — but some acquire infections at the hospital. The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) account for nearly 100,000 deaths every year. Below, we offer insight into a few of the most common HAIs:
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
Better known as MRSA, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is arguably the most well-known hospital-acquired health problem. The staph bacteria is notoriously resistant to common antibiotics. Thankfully, research indicates that hospital-acquired MRSA is on the decline. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine revealed that MRSA infections that originated in hospitals declined by 54 percent between 2005 and 2011 — and that 9,000 fewer patients died due to MRSA in 2011 than in 2005.
Ventilator-associated pneumonia typically strikes critically ill patients treated by mechanical ventilation breathing machines. While these machines act as a critical source of air, they also provide a deadly pathway for bacteria to enter the respiratory tract. Statistics cited by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement suggest a mortality rate approaching 50 percent.
Surgical Site Infections
According to a report from the Loyola University Health System, surgical site infections (SSIs) impact over 300,000 patients every year. These infections can occur in the skin area where the surgical incision was made or in the muscles and tissues of areas involved in the surgery. Not only are SSIs the most common hospital-acquired infection, they’re the most costly; research suggests these infections increase the length of patient stays by an average of 9.7 days, leading to annual expenses of up to $10 billion.