Risk of mortality with a bloodstream infection is higher in the less severely III at admission

Peter W. Kim, Trish M. Perl, Eithne F. Keelaghan, Patricia Langenberg, Eli N. Perencevich, Anthony D. Harris, Xiaoyan Song, Mary Claire Roghmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


Rationale: Health care-associated bloodstream infections are common in critically ill patients; however, investigators have had difficulty in quantifying the clinical impact of these infections given the high expected mortality among these patients. Objective: To estimate the impact of health care-associated bloodstream infections on in-hospital mortality after adjusting for severity of illness at critical care admission. Method: A cohort of medical and surgical intensive care unit patients. Measurements: Severity of illness at admission, bloodstream infection, and in-hospital mortality. Main Results: Among the 2,783 adult patients, 269 developed unit-associated bloodstream infections. After adjusting for severity of illness, patients with a lower initial severity of illness who developed an infection had a greater than twofold higher risk for in-hospital mortality (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.70, 3.44) when compared with patients without infection and with a similar initial severity of illness. In contrast, patients with a higher initial severity of illness who subsequently developed an infection did not have an increased risk for in-hospital mortality (HR = 0.96, 95%CI 0.76, 1.23) when compared with patients without infection but with a similar initial severity of illness. Conclusions: These results suggest that these infections in less ill patients have a higher attributable impact on subsequent mortality than in more severely ill patients. Focusing interventions to prevent bloodstream infections in less severely ill patients would be expected to have a greater benefit in terms of mortality reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)616-620
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2005



  • Adults
  • Bloodstream infection
  • Cohort study
  • Intensive care unit
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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