Entries in ICU (3)


How ICU Patients Can Block Out the Noise and Confusion

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ANTWERP, Belgium) -- On top of all their other problems, hospital patients who spend time in the intensive care unit often have a difficult time getting to sleep because of delirium or confusion caused by their surroundings.

Mainly, patients stuck in the ICU complain that interruptions such as phones ringing and people talking are primarily responsible for them failing to get any shuteye.

However, researchers from the University of Antwerp and Antwerp University Hospital seem to have come across a solution that has already worked for millions of people and it doesn't involve medication: Earplugs.

The confusion or delirium experienced by ICU patients was reduced by 50 percent when they were given earplugs to help block out noise.  What's more, most of the earplug wearers reported a better night's sleep than patients who didn't use them.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Infections More Likely in Pediatric ICUs, Research Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(YONKERS, N.Y.) -- Parents whose children are ill enough to spend time in an intensive care unit may have something else to worry about on top of that serious medical condition, according to new research published in Consumer Reports.

The risk of a serious bloodstream infection contracted in hospitals, the report says, is 20 percent higher in pediatric intensive care units (ICUs) than in adult intensive care units.

The Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center also rated pediatric ICUs across the country based on how well they prevented a certain type of dangerous infection that affects central lines -- long tubes inserted into veins that go directly to blood vessels feeding the heart used to administer medication and fluids.


Based on data from 92 ICUs gathered in 2010, researchers discovered that only five earned the highest possible rating of 5, meaning they reported no central line infections.  Twenty-four ICUs received a 2, the second-lowest rating.  Their infection rates were higher than the national average of 1.5 blood infections per 1,000 days children had central lines.  Two hospitals scored a 1, the lowest rating, with rates more than twice the national average.

The report cites data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that estimated 27,000 to 65,000 central line bloodstream infections in U.S. hospitals in 2009. Between 12,000 and 28,000 of them occurred in ICUs, and about 25 percent of them were fatal.

"These are serious infections that can lead to the death of a patient and are preventable, but hospitals are not doing enough to prevent them," said Dr. John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center.

The infections, he explained, often occur because health care personnel don't take enough precautions to ensure the lines are inserted under absolutely sterile conditions or make sure they are kept very clean so bacteria can't enter the bloodstream.

Santa also said that despite the fact that there are more than 400 hospitals with pediatric ICUs nationwide, only 92 made it into the analysis, because more than half of them did not make their infection data public and the others did not utilize enough central lines to make a fair comparison.  Hospitals are not required in every state to report their data on infections.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Quality Care Program Decreases Deaths in Mich. ICU Patients

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BALTIMORE, Md.) - A new quality improvement program in Michigan intensive care units has decreased the likeliness of patients dying while in care, reports MedPage Today.

The Keystone ICU project, designed by researchers at John Hopkins University, was implemented in 95 Michigan hospitals in 2004 to help reduce deaths caused by infection and to improve other safety standards.

During an evaluation 13 to 22 months after the program started, it was found that patients admitted to Michigan intensive care units were 24 percent less likely to die compared to before the program was initiated.

"These results strongly support governments', hospitals', and healthcare payers' investment in similar successful, large scale, robust, quality improvement initiatives to maximize patient benefits," wrote Allison Lipitz-Snyderman and colleagues.

The length of stays for patients in the ICU in Michigan hospitals also dropped after the program began.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio