Web site spotlight: Number of MRSA cases falling in ICUs

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, June 26, 2009

On an all-too-regular basis, newspaper headlines depict grim trends related to MRSA, both in the hospital and the community. Health officials have been left scrambling to mitigate the pathogen's drug resistance, and infection preventionists (IPs) are working hard to keep it from entering their hospitals.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined trends regarding the incidence of MRSA in central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) in U.S. ICUs. Data reported to the CDC through the National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance system from 1997 to 2004 were used in conjunction with data from the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) that were phased in by the CDC in 2005.

After analyzing data over the 10-year period, researchers found that although MRSA CLABSI incidence from 1997 to 2001 increased in some ICU settings, from 2001 to 2007, MRSA rates declined in all ICU types except pediatric units. Overall, the CLABSI incidence decreased 49.6% over the 10-year span.

Although the study served as a positive note for IPs, the limitations of the study were such that it could not specifically cite any measures that had a direct effect on the decrease of infections. As is common with many medical studies, this one concludes with a call for further studies to narrow down exactly what procedures have been effective and where infection prevention can continue to succeed, particularly in other areas of the industry.

Editor's note: This excerpt was adapted from "Study finds a decline in MRSA in the ICU" found in the Reading Room at Get a free trial membership that will give you 30 days to test drive all the exciting features on the Web site.

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