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Updated: January 23, 2010 21:08 IST

Simple steps can reduce bloodstream infections in infants

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Paediatric ICUs’ focus on careful placement and basic daily cleaning of the devices, besides keeping everything squeaky clean help prevent bloodstream infections. A file photo of Children at the Mahesh Meorial Paediatric Ward. Photo: R. Shivaji Ral
The Hindu Paediatric ICUs’ focus on careful placement and basic daily cleaning of the devices, besides keeping everything squeaky clean help prevent bloodstream infections. A file photo of Children at the Mahesh Meorial Paediatric Ward. Photo: R. Shivaji Ral

Paediatric hospitals can cut down bloodstream infections by following some low-tech rules.

Yearlong research led by Marlene Miller, Johns Hopkins Children’s Centre with colleagues from other hospitals saw a 43 per cent drop in the rate of such infections from catheters (a tube that can be inserted into a body cavity, duct, or vessel allowing drainage, injection of fluids, or access by surgical instruments) in 29 paediatric intensive care units.

These units focussed on careful placement and basic daily cleaning of the devices, besides keeping everything squeaky clean.

Each year, 250,000 central line infections occur in the US, researchers estimate, and up to a fourth of patients die from them.

Between 10 and 20 per cent of children, who get such infections, die from them, researchers believe, and each infection carries a cost of $50,000, said a Johns Hopkins release.

“If every single paediatric intensive care unit applies this approach rigorously and systematically, I’d be surprised if it didn’t translate into hundreds of lives and millions of dollars saved,” says Miller.

These results were published in the February issue of Paediatrics.

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