AHRQ: Hospital-acquired infections extend hospital stays, costs

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On average, hospital stays for patients with healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) were 19.2 days longer and the cost was nearly $43,000 greater than stays without infections, according to a statistical brief released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The rate of infection was highest among patients age 45 to 64, according to the brief, which presents data from the AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project 2007 Nationwide Inpatient Sample. Historical data were drawn from the 2000, 2004, 2005 and 2006 NIS and analyzed using the AHRQ’s Quality Indicator Software.

Based on these data, the AHRQ report found:

  • Males and females were nearly equally affected by infections due to medical care (49.1 and 50.9 percent of the stays with an infection, respectively). This differed from all other hospital stays, where one-third of stays were males.
  • Stays with infections were more likely to be at hospitals with 500 or more beds, in hospitals located in a metropolitan area or in private, for-profit and teaching hospitals.
  • The most common principal diagnoses for stays with infections due to medical care were septicemia (11.8 percent of infections had this principal diagnosis); adult respiratory failure (5.9 percent); and complications of surgical procedures or medical care (4.1 percent).
  • The rate of infections among medical and surgical discharges peaked in 2004 and 2005 at 2.30 per 1,000 stays, then declined to 2.03, a rate similar to year 2000.
  • From 2004 to 2007, the infection rate was highest in the 45- to 64-year age group (2.58 per 1,000 in 2007) and lowest in the 18 to 44-year age group (1.38 per 1,000 in 2007). The 45- to 64-year group also saw the greatest reduction in rate from 2004 to 2007, falling by 0.48 per 1,000, a 15.7 percent reduction over the four-year period.

The brief can be found here.