Infection control and the prevention of nosocomial infections in the intensive care unit

Gonzalo M.L. Bearman, Candy Munro, Curtis N. Sessler, Richard P. Wenzel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Nosocomial infections continue to be significant causes of morbidity, mortality, and added costs in the health care setting. Half of all life-threatening nosocomial bloodstream infections and pneumonias occur in intensive care units (ICUs), despite ICUs representing only 15 to 20% of all hospital beds. Thus an efficient focus for prevention and control of life-threatening health care-associated infections should be in ICUs. Further, growing antibiotic resistance complicates the therapy of serious infections. Meticulous infection control practice with continued attention to hand hygiene is of paramount importance. Strict adherence to evidence-based catheter insertion and maintenance policies reduces nosocomial bloodstream infections. Evidence-based prevention strategies for ventilator-associated pneumonia, including management of respiratory equipment according to published guidelines and maintaining backrest elevation at 30 to 45 degrees, are effective. For greatest risk reduction, multifaceted programs ensuring maximal adherence with evidence-based infection control guidelines are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-324
Number of pages15
JournalSeminars in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Bloodstream infections
  • Infection control
  • Nosocomial infections
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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