A national point prevalence survey of healthcare-associated infection (HCAI) in all acute hospitals, including intensive care units (ICUs), was carried out in Scotland from October 2005 to October 2006. The survey measured the prevalence of HCAIs to determine the burden on ICU resources. HCAI prevalence in ICUs was compared with HCAI prevalence in patients outside ICU. The prevalence of HCAI in ICU patients was 27.1%, significantly higher than HCAI prevalence in patients outside ICU, which was 9.3%. The prevalence of specific infections, namely pneumonia and lower respiratory tract, bloodstream and surgical site infections, was also significantly higher in ICU patients compared with non-ICU patients. These results highlight the burden on ICU resources from all HCAIs, regardless of site of infection. High HCAI prevalence in Scottish ICUs has major implications for patient safety and ICU resources and emphasises the need for continuing strong collaboration between intensivists and infection control teams.
- healthcare-associated infection
- intensive care unit
- point prevalence survey