ICU bloodstream infection rate drops significantly

The number of central line bloodstream infections in ICU patients dropped 58 percent between 2001 and 2009, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control. 

Other key findings from  the report:

  • The CDC estimates that this decrease in infections saved up to 27,000 lives and is associated with $1.8 billion in excess medical costs. 
  • Although ICU-related bloodstream infections have dropped substantially, the number of infections in other parts of the hospital remains high.
  • Infections are one of the leading causes of hospitalization and death for patients on hemodialysis.
  • A hemodialysis patient is 100 times more likely to get a bloodstream infection from MRSA than other people.

The study recommends steps to reduce these infections that include using CDC-recommended infection control guidelines every time a central line is put in, and for central line care, track infection rates and germ types with CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) to learn where and why infections are happening, target actions to stop them, and track progress.   

(Sources: The Advisory Board Daily Briefing,, March 2, 2011; The Centers for Disease Control Vital Signs,, March 1, 2011)