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Simple steps can reduce bloodstream infections in infants

Updated: Jan 24, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

Washington: 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 percent 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 percent of children, who get such infections, die from them, researchers believe, and each infection carries a cost of USD 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.