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Healthcare-related bacteraemia admitted to the ICU


Bacteraemia developing in patients outside the hospital is categorized as community acquired. Accumulating evidence suggests that healthcare-related bacteraemia (HCRB) are distinct from those that are community acquired.


A prospective, observational study of all the patients with community-acquired bacteraemia sepsis (CABS) admitted to a tertiary, mixed, 12-bed ICU, at a university hospital, between 1 December 2004 and 30 November 2005. HCRB was defined according to criteria proposed by Friedman and colleagues [1].


Throughout the study period, 160 patients were admitted with CABS; 50 (31%) had HCRB. In the CABS group the main focus of infection was respiratory (41%), intra-abdominal (15%) and endovascular (15%); in the HCRB group respiratory infection was present in 14 (28%) patients, intra-abdominal in 13 (26%) patients and urological in 10 (20%) patients (P = 0.227). The microbiological profile was different between the two groups: in the non-HCRB the main microbiological agents were Gram-positive 57 (63%), versus 34 (37%) Gram-negative. In the HCRB group the Gram-negative dominated the microbiological profile: 26 (65%) versus 34 (37%) (P = 0.003). The ICU crude mortality was different in both groups (52% in HCRB versus 34% in CABS, P = 0.028) and also hospital mortality (60% vs 39%, P = 0.013).


HCRB has a higher crude mortality and a different microbiological profile was shown in the present study. This knowledge should prompt the necessity for early recognition of patients with HCRB that would need a different therapeutic approach.


  1. Friedman ND, Kaye KS, Stout JE, et al: Health care-associated bloodstream infections in adults: a reason to change the accepted definition of community-acquired infections. Ann Intern Med. 2002, 137: 791-797.

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Castro, G., Cardoso, T., Carneiro, R. et al. Healthcare-related bacteraemia admitted to the ICU. Crit Care 12 (Suppl 2), P11 (2008).

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