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Incidence and clinical implication of nosocomial infections associated with implantable biomaterials – catheters, ventilator-associated pneumonia, urinary tract infections

Author(s): Guggenbichler, Josef Peter | Assadian, Ojan | Boeswald, Michael | Kramer, Axel

Journal: GMS Krankenhaushygiene Interdisziplinär
ISSN 1863-5245

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: Doc18;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: hospital-acquired infections | medical device associated infections | catheter related blood stream infections | ventilator-associated pneumonia | urinary tract infections | prosthetic joint infections | pace maker infections | vascular graft infections | prevention | surveillance

Health care associated infections, the fourth leading cause of disease in industrialised countries, are a major health issue. One part of this condition is based on the increasing insertion and implantation of prosthetic medical devices, since presence of a foreign body significantly reduces the number of bacteria required to produce infection. The most significant hospital-acquired infections, based on frequency and potential severity, are those related to procedures e.g. surgical site infections and medical devices, including urinary tract infection in catheterized patients, pneumonia in patients intubated on a ventilator and bacteraemia related to intravascular catheter use. At least half of all cases of nosocomial infections are associated with medical devices. Modern medical and surgical practices have increasingly utilized implantable medical devices of various kinds. Such devices may be utilized only short-time or intermittently, for months, years or permanently. They improve the therapeutic outcome, save human lives and greatly enhance the quality of life of these patients. However, plastic devices are easily colonized with bacteria and fungi, able to be colonized by microorganisms at a rate of 0.5 cm per hour. A thick biofilm is formed within 24 hours on the entire surface of these plastic devices once inoculated even with a small initial number of bacteria. The aim of the present work is to review the current literature on causes, frequency and preventive measures against infections associated with intravascular devices, catheter-related urinary tract infection, ventilator-associated infection, and infections of other implantable medical devices. Raising awareness for infection associated with implanted medical devices, teaching and training skills of staff, and establishment of surveillance systems monitoring device-related infection seem to be the principal strategies used to achieve reduction and prevention of such infections. The intelligent use of suitable antiseptics in combination with medical devices may further support reduction and prevention of such infections. In addition to reducing the adverse clinical outcomes related with these infections, such reduction may substantially decrease the economic burden caused by device-related infection for health care systems.
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